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How to dress in your 50’s

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How to dress in your 50's

Careers have stabilized, nests are emptied, and the body is doing whatever it feels like (goodbye, eyesight). Welcome to your 50’s.

 

If you didn’t take time to yourself in your 40’s, then you might find yourself in a style rut, looking frumpy and out of date. Not to worry- it’s never too late to show yourself some love. Start with choosing wardrobe basics that look great on your body type. Set time aside to improve your health and your appearance (this could include anything from walking with friends to doing hair masks). You’ve spent most of your adult life taking care of someone or something else- now it’s time for you.

 

If you were nice to yourself in your 40’s (good for you!) then you are well set up to confront the many changes your lifestyle and body has in store for you during this decade.

 

Here are my top 3 tips for dressing in your 50’s:

 

  1. Decide how you’re going to age

There’s no denying it, a lot of changes in your appearance will start happening in your 50’s. Whether it’s graying hair, a widening middle (thanks, Menopause!), or extra lines on your face, you are really starting to look different than previous years. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though! It really all comes down to attitude. Do you want to fall down the proverbial hill or enjoy the view?

 

You’ve heard the phrase ‘aging gracefully’, right? Well, it’s totally up to you as to HOW you age. Are you going to age gracefully (whatever that means for you)? Are you going to fight the aging process? Are you going to let time do its thing why you sit back and watch things unfold? The good news is: there is no wrong answer. Whether you let your hair go gray or load up on botox, the choice is yours.

 

Crossing the threshold of 50 is a great reason to take a step back and review your life. Are you happy with the person you’ve been for the last 50 years? What kind of person do you want to be for the next 50? This last question will dictate, not only how you decide to age, but also what you wear going forth. Maybe it means taking some risks, maybe it means prioritizing comfort, or maybe it means staying true to what you’ve done all along.

 

Your appearance isn’t just fun and games (although it should be fun! see tip #2), it’s a form of communication. The 50’s are a great time to think about what you’re communicating through your appearance and what you plan on communicating as you get older.

 

what to wear after 50

 

  1. Have some fun

No matter what kind of person you want to be for the next 50 years, there is one thing that I encourage everyone to embrace on some level: FUN.

 

At this point, you’re comfortable in your skin, you know what you like, and you know where you want to go. If there’s any time to try something new, it’s now. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but didn’t have the confidence (like wearing white booties)? Or maybe, you’re just bored of the clothes you already have and want to spice it up a little, while still staying true to you. Even if you’re totally happy with your current wardrobe, try doing something or wearing something you normally wouldn’t. Switching up your fashion or your appearance has the same effect as going to a different restaurant for your weekly date night dinner with your spouse. It makes things feel fresh, new, and exciting all of a sudden.

 

With that said, remember that is doesn’t have to be anything huge. Try a different shade of eyeshadow or lipstick. Pick up a pair of shoes from Target that you normally wouldn’t wear. Style your hair differently. Put a scarf around your handbag instead of your neck. Go to Charming Charlie and get some funky jewelry just for the heck of it (even if you only wear it out on girls’ night).

 

Your life is really just starting to get fun, don’t let your wardrobe fall behind.

 

  1. Keep learning

One of the many things I love about fashion is how it translates differently from person to person and even the same person throughout different periods of their life. Have you ever looked back at pictures of younger you and thought, “what was I wearing? I thought I was so cool.” I know I have. But that’s part of the beauty of fashion. When I was in college wearing a homemade dress from upholstery material (true story) I was engaging with fashion in an entirely different way than I do now when I buy a polka dot suit from Banana Republic and wear it to meetings (also true).

 

Experience teaches us how to engage with fashion, but so do conventional learning methods. For example, you may have learned throughout the years what kind of jeans look best on you, but you may also read a blog post on dressing your body shape and realize what tops look best you. As your body and lifestyle change and you age, new unlimited learning opportunities open up. You don’t get dressed as a young adult and then decide that’s how you’re going to look forever, do you? No! Your appearance changes throughout your life and it reflects where you are and what you find important. As you go through tip #1 and decide who you want to be post-50, take time to expand your horizons and learn something new.

 

Here’s a nifty list of resources I recommend based on what you might want to learn!:

 

Fashion resources for women over 50

 

I want to…

  1. Overhaul my whole wardrobe and re-organize my closet
  2. Update my hairstyle
  3. Know how my appearance affects how others view me
  4. Get inspiration for age-appropriate outfits
  5. Find a new way to tie a scarf
  6. Know what trends are in for this Fall
  7. Know more about reading glasses (and where to find fun ones!)
  8. Learn how to look sexy without looking sleazy
  9. Know what looks good on my body shape
  10. Find workout clothes that work for my age

 

Ps. You can stay on the top as the hill as long as you want. Enjoy it! Smile

 

Cheers!

Leslie

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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 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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The pair of shoes you can wear with anything

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The only pair of shoes you'll need

 

Anyone who knows me (or follows my blog) probably knows that I’m a neurotic packer.

I absolutely love packing for trips. This, in and of itself, is weird (or so I’m told). But while the rest of world dreads packing and procrastinates until the last minute, I start planning months in advance.

My goal is to pack the least amount (I almost never check a bag!) but still have enough clothes to look really stylish and appropriate for my destination. Because of that, I approach packing like a puzzle. How many outfits can I make from the least amount of clothes? How many accessories do I need to make each outfit look amazingly unique, even if I wore it the night before? And, the question that brings us to today’s topic, what is the least number of shoes I can pack? (psst. My biggest packing tip is to only pack some of the basics from your wardrobe.)

Shoes are a big deal. For one, they take up a lot of room in a suitcase. They are also extremely important when it comes to enjoying your trip. You don’t want to get blisters on the first day from bringing shoes that don’t fit well.

I just went to New York City for the weekend to meet up with my sisters. Activities included everything from walking around the Met to going out and laying out. I needed a shoe that would look great with a fancy dress, jeans, and a swimsuit. It was a tall order.

What did I end up choosing? A cute pair of black mules. The picture below is the exact pair of shoes I wore.
target black muleBlack Mules from Target ($24.99)

Since I had copious amounts of time in airports and cars this past weekend, I got to thinking, “Is there one shoe you could pretty much wear with anything?” The shoe above did just that, but what happens when that shoe is outdated? And that’s when I got my follow up answer; it wasn’t about the exact shoe itself so much as the type.

The picture above, is a fancy flat. If you’re not familiar with that term, don’t feel bad, I literally made it up in the Delta lounge last weekend. More on what makes a fancy flat fancy later, but I want to hit on why this type of shoe will always be around:

When that fancy flat gets outdated, another fancy flat will take it’s place.

Just think about the last couple years of fashion when it comes to flats: ballet flats were all the hit (a la Tory Burch), then loafers, and now mules. In a few years (or months) another flat will take the place of mules.

So what makes a fancy flat fancy?

So glad you asked. It’s some sort of embellishment or attribute that takes the shoe from completely casual to gussied up. It could be an actual embellishment like tassels (see above) or rhinestones. Or it could be as simple as using leather or satin instead of canvas or some other cheap substitute.

This is the secret to having a shoe that can go back and forth from a maxi dress to a swimsuit.

Below are two flats. The one on the left is just a normal, casual flat while the other is one I’d consider ‘fancy’. Can you tell the difference?

Galinsky Loafer

Left (Toms $49.95), Right (Aldo $59.99)

The two shoes above are very similar, but because the one on the right uses leather instead of canvas and has a pointed toe, it looks fancier. Crazy how such a small change can make a big difference right?

Both shoes will look great with jeans, but only the one on the right will look good with fancier skirts, dresses, and even work pants.

Keep reading to see the top 3 reasons why fancy flats are so incredible.

you can wear these shoes with everything

 

The top 3 reasons why the fancy flat can be the only shoe in your closet:

  1. It’s a flat, so it’s easy to walk in. If you have one shoe in your closet, it better to be easy on your dogs.
  2. It’s fancy (or part of it is dressed up in some way) so the casualness of the low heel is contrasted with the more formal embellishments or materials. These two qualities ying and yang to create the perfect shoe that can work just as well with jean shorts as it can a silk slip dress.
  3. What’s en vogue changes enough, that by the time you wear out your pair of fancy flats, another pair will be on the market (which means you are always in style)

 

I love fancy flats, and think they’re so important, that they actually made my list of the top 20 items you need in your closet.

 

 

Looking for more fancy flat options? Try these:

Renzo Flat

DSW $44.99

Rodney Pointy Toe d'Orsay Flat, Main, color, Pink Snake Print Leather

Nordstrom $83

Sunflower Studded Mule Slide

Bergdorf Goodman’s ($347)

 

As you can tell, not all fancy flats have to be plain black (although that is pretty versatile!) Pick a pair that works well with the color scheme of your closet or opt for neutral colors like beige and black to get the most wear! They also don’t have to be fancy priced. The pair of mules I took to New York were less than $25. I’d say that’s a win-win.

Do you have a pair of fancy flats that you love? Tell me below!

xoxox,

Leslie

3

How to dress a RECTANGLE shape

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Rectangle shaped bodies have been called many other things over the years including ‘athletic shaped’ and ‘boy body shaped’. I don’t have a problem with the athletic shape thing, but boy body??? What is the difference between the body of a boy and a girl (literally, pre-pubescent they look pretty much the same). Although, to be fair, I also wouldn’t want to have a ‘girl shaped body’. That’s weird. So, let’s just call it rectangle and stick with that.

*rant over*

Now it’s time for me to tell you how great a rectangle body is. Did I just see an eye roll? Pull yourself together woman, I’m serious. You know why? Because rectangles can pretty much wear anything.

Let me explain. Rectangles are usually thinner and straight up and down. In other words, there are less curves to deal with. You know want that results in? The perfect frame to showcase clothing.

Have you ever wondered why 99.9% runway models (except Naomi Campbell who is an inverted triangle) are rectangles? It’s because it’s easier to put clothes on a rectangle than any other body shape. They look good in pretty much anything.

You know that friend who can wear a sack and look great? She’s probably a rectangle. Or has a ton of self confidence (which outranks any fashion rule btw).

 

Keep reading to find out:

  • What a Rectangle shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity Rectangle 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 a Rectangle If…

You know you’re a Rectangle shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. Your waist is pretty much the same width as your bust/hips (or within an inch or two)

 

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 Rectangles:

Celebrity rectangles are all over the place because they are so easy to dress.

 

See the source image

You see where Gwyneth Paltrow’s dress starts to flare out? Well, her body just keeps going straight down from there. The flared dress gives the illusion of a waist (by making her hips more pronounced). 

 

See the source image

Natalie Portman uses color blocking to give the illusion of a defined waist. 

 

See the source imageSee the source image

You thought Kate had the perfect hourglass shape? Not so! It’s all a trick. See the picture on the right? She didn’t just grow curves once she became royal (she just got a stylist). 

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.

Rectangles, you can get away with pretty much anything, sartorially speaking. With that said, your best looking and most attractive outfits are going to include the optical illusion of a waist.

Keep reading to discover how to create a fake waist.

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to equally add volume to the top and bottom of the body to make the waist seem smaller (and more defined). (Psst. click here to discover the top 20 items every rectangle needs in their closet)

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

  • Use color. Just make sure the color change happens at your fake waist (like the picture of Natalie Portman above).
  • Use gathering or ruching. This can make it look like you have a waist.
  • 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 a belt. Sometimes it helps to visually draw a line across your fake waist (the smallest part of your torso, remember??) using a belt.

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

    • Tops/Blouses: Choose shirts that make your top half seem bigger (thus making your waist smaller). You don’t necessarily need volume to do this. You can simply choose a boatneck, square, or wide V-neck neckline.

    • Blazers/Jackets: You can wear any jacket that you want as long as 1) your waist is defined in some manner and 2) any volume on the top of the jacket (puffy sleeves) is evened out at the bottom of the jacket (peplum) or with the pant/skirt (flowy skirt) choice.

    • Skirts: Just like the tops, you don’t want the skirt to overpower the outfit. The skirt should even out what’s going on up top. High waisted and A-line skirts are your best choice.

    • Pants: Keep your proportions equal. Bigger top means bigger pants…just don’t forget to wear a belt or make sure the shirt/pants are fitted at the waist. Any rise of pants works for you as long as you don’t neglect the waist!

    • 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, fit and flare 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. You can wear any jewelry that you want. Woohoo!
  • Purses: Take your pick of purses except for cross body bags.

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything baggy where your waist isn’t accentuated. (Like the baggy shirt and low rise skirt shown below)
  • 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. (Exception: if the boxy jackets end above your waist or if you belt them)
  • Skirts: Avoid skirts that are much more voluminous than your top. (Think: tank top with peasant skirt)
  • Pants: None! Go crazy!
  • Dresses: Almost nothing.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your fake waist are bad.

Sample Rectangle 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 a Rectangle 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) Dress + blazer + belt (over blazer at waist) + heels.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) Button up shirt (tucked in) + skirt + earrings + black flats.

Wednesday: (work) Black bodysuit + crème pants + blazer + heels.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) Dress + belt + black flats.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Black bodysuit + skirt + jacket + earrings + heels. Take off jacket for date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) White top (tucked in) + black pants + Soludos mules.

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Button up shirt (untucked) + crème pants + belt (over shirt at waist) + black flats.

 

Want to know the basics EVERY woman should have in their wardrobe (plus outfit ideas on how to put them together?) Just click here to find out!

 

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 rectangles above!?!?!) Focus on creating that fake waist and then accent the heck out of it! 

Or…ignore all the rules and go fashionista on the world (Natalie Portman is really good at that if you need examples) 😉

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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beauty from the inside out part 2: pretty girl problems

Pretty Girl Problems

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Part 2 to the 6-Part Series: Beauty from the Inside Out
Featuring Becky Lauren and Leslie Friedman

Beauty from the Inside Out is a 6-part series exploring the struggle women have every day, from looking nice and staying healthy to taking jobs and choosing friends, because we want to or because society expects it from us. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic, culminating in how we can break the mold as strong, confident, beautiful women.

Part 2: Pretty Girl Problems

Prepare yourself for this one, ladies, it’s going to be a long one.  It’s something that really affects me in every way every single day and it’s very important to me…

In today’s age we’re still living in a world where most career women struggle working in ‘a man’s world’.

I still laugh every time I watch Kristen Bell’s video ‘Pinksourcing’ . In the video she makes fun of everything that is unfair about being a women in the workforce.

I’ve known what I wanted to be since I was 8 years old. I was going to be “in the special forces”.  I of course didn’t really know what that meant other than wearing a uniform and carrying a gun and beating up bad guys.  At 8 years old I had no idea this dream wasn’t actually a possibility for me.

It wasn’t until I started growing up that there limitations on what I could dream and achieve.  Some of these limitations were real and some were conditioned. “Oh a pretty little girl like you can’t be a Soldier, that’s for boys!”

Do you have pretty girl problems?

Can women be in the special forces? At the time – no. In today’s age – kinda.  But were there really cool jobs similar to that women could do? Absolutely!

As I started to grow into my professional career in the corporate world sitting at the large mahogany conference room tables of ‘old white men’ the reality of working in a man’s world began to sink in.

If you were an attractive woman, you obviously got the job because of your looks.  If you were unattractive you obviously got the job because nobody wanted you so you had nothing to do but to work. (This is actually something that’s been told to me by numerous people over the years)

As a woman working in a field dominated by men, I am confronted by the double standard every single day. The struggle for me has always been where the line is, when to give into it, and when to fight it.

 

Where does ‘Pretty Girl Problems” come from? It’s from years of being told that my problems weren’t important.  When I would give a presentation to someone much higher up in the company than I and they couldn’t stop staring at my legs (I’m 5’10) I was told it’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.  When I had people from the company texting me slightly questionable things when they were drinking it was a ‘pretty girl problem’. When people assume I got my job because I’m a woman and they needed to make a ‘quota’, that’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.

 

“Oh it must be SO HARD getting all that attention from men all the time.” My male co-workers would joke. Yes. It is, and no, I don’t like it.

I once had a mentor, she was mid 50s, sit me down when I was an intern and give me some of the best advice I still look at today. She took me for coffee and as we sat down said “You, my dear, are going to have some trouble in this world.” The piece of advice she gave me which I still use is this: “There is a double standard that you aren’t going to get rid of in your lifetime, so you might as well take advantage.  Your looks will open doors to you that it won’t for men. Don’t be afraid to use that, but you better make sure that when you open your mouth you are smarter than anyone else in the room.  You better floor them!”

Leslie and I talked a lot about how to dress as a woman in the workplace. I’ve always joked that I have a pendulum that swings from ‘I don’t give a fuck to lesbian pant suit’.  I’ve been told that if I don’t want men to stare at me I shouldn’t wear dresses and skirts, form fitting clothing, or low tops.  I don’t disagree that if I avoided wearing those things I might not get as many looks.  My issue lies in who’s side society is taking.  

By saying “she’s asking for it. She’s wearing a pencil skirt with a shirt tucked in, you can see her shape” what we’re really saying is that we’re choosing men. We are choosing that their opinions and actions mean more than a woman’s. THEY can’t handle themselves so we need to change how we exist in the world. No. I just won’t.

Except I do. I think we all do.  I’ll have an inappropriate comment made to me or someone stare just too much and the next day I’m practically wearing a mumu with my hair in a bun and no makeup. And I’ll do that for a few days so I don’t get the attention. And in that moment, in that decision, I’ve let them win.beauty quote

 

The crazy thing is, that these same problems happen to women regardless of what industry they’re in. As an image consultant, Leslie works with women across all different fields look their best especially when they are going to work. She’s noticed that a ‘pretty girl’ double standard is present in almost all workplaces, but does vary from industry to industry. For example, a woman who wears heels in a more casual teaching environment is judged as being sexy and trying too hard while a woman who wears flats in a high power ad agency might be seen as lazy and unprofessional. Likewise, it is deemed equally inappropriate (by the men who have always set the standards, of course!) for a woman engineer to wear a skirt at a manufacturing conference as it is for a woman lawyer to wear a pant suit in the courtroom.

So, what’s Leslie advice to these women? Dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable, reflects the way you want to be perceived to your client (ex. Professional, capable, etc.), and is appropriate for your workplace (I don’t want to see tight pants, short shorts, or unbuttoned tops on men either). If you feel comfortable in a skirt, wear an office appropriate skirt. If you feel incredible in a power suit, wear your power suit. Your appearance certainly has an affect on others, but it also affects YOU! The way you look should empower you, while setting the stage for your actions- which is the real secret to breaking barriers.

Pretty Girl Problems affect all of us.  I have a million stories of this and I’m sure each and every one of you do as well. We know women who exacerbate the issue and we know women who hide from it. I’ve always tried to live my professional life and professional friendships with integrity – in a way where I had fun, I dressed fashionably but appropriately, and acted in a way that nobody would question my intentions.  “Live your life in a way that if someone spoke bad about you, nobody would believe it”

Xoxo
Becky and Leslie

P.S. Don’t miss out on past or future videos and posts in this series! Sign up HERE to get access to everything!

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The Complete Shopping Guide for Tall, Petite, and Plus Size Women

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Special size guide- where to shop for tall, petite, and plus sizes

If you’re a special size (like tall, petite, or plus), finding clothing that fits can be downright agonizing. Luckily, I’ve come up with the complete guide to shopping for special sizes. I’ve broken down each special size into several sub categories like: casual, work (business clothing), wedding, shoes, etc. so you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for!

 

But what if you don’t know what you’re looking for?

 

I know that sounds, stupid, but how many times do we….

1) go shopping with only one thing in mind (and that one thing may, or may not, go with the other clothes in our closet)?

and/or

2) mindlessly window shop without really knowing what we need?

 

If you’re like most women (including me!) you end up doing this more often than not. You’ll save money and time, though, if you start with these 20 basic items in your wardrobe and then add on from there!

 

It’s already hard enough to find the right clothes (and how to wear them) when you are a special size- so don’t make it any harder! This style book tells you exactly what you need (no matter what age or size) and the right styles for your body shape.

 

My goal was to make this list digestible, not exhaustible, so if I left out your favorite place to shop- leave a comment and tell me where you love to shop and for what size range (tall/petite/plus/etc.)

 

Note: each brand name is a direct link to the website where the described type of item can be found (therefore, ASOS under tall casual will go directly to tall clothes on the ASOS website).

 

Price indicator: Average cost of items from each retailer

$: $0-100

$$: $100-250

$$$: $250+


the complete guide to finding clothes for tall womenTALL

Casual/Everyday Clothing

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Ann Taylor has a whole section just for tall women and provides a good selection of classic clothing at reasonable prices.
  • ASOS: $ Asos has a ton of tall options when it comes to well priced, casual clothing. Be advised however, that their target market is for the under 35 crowd.
  • Banana Republic: $$ The nicest of the three Gap companies, BR has tailored casual and professional clothing in tall sizes.
  • Gap: $ More casual than BR, but with some dressy options like blazers and tailored pants. Much of what is available in regular sizes is available in tall.
  • JCPenney:$ Like many other department stores, JCP offers a specific tall shopping section on their website. While most of the clothes are casual, you can find professional separates like skirts, dresses, and jackets.
  • J.Crew:$$ From cocktail dresses to denim shirts, J.Crew has a lot to offer tall women.
  • J.Jill: $ Relaxed, casual clothing for tall women. J.Jill caters to a 35+ age group.
  • Lands’ End: $ Casual clothing and swimwear is available in tall for both their original (older target market) and canvas (younger target market) lines.
  • LOFT: $ LOFT is Ann Taylor’s less expensive and more casual line. You’ll find similar aesthetics to Ann Taylor, but less formal.
  • Long Tall Sally:$ to $$ This online boutique only sells brands that are suitable for tall people (and fashion forward!) They cater to a young professional market (ages 25-55).
  • New York & Co: $ Affordable clothing ranging from casual to professional. BONUS: Their new Eva Mendes collection is adorable AND available in tall.
  • Old Navy: $ Like its sister brands Gap and BR, Old Navy offers a good selection of casual tall clothing.
  • Simply Tall: $-$$ This online boutique only carries tall casual and (some) professional clothing. The pieces are more classic than trendy and cater towards a 30+  market.
  • TopShop:$ Like ASOS, TopShop has tall options in trendy, younger looking clothing.

 Work

  • JC. Penney, J.Crew,  New York and Co, Simply Tall, Long Tall Sally, Ann Taylor, LOFT

Formal/cocktail

  • ASOS: $ ASOS specializes in casual and formal clothing and skips the whole professional look. Luckily, they have great depth in those two categories and lots of tall items to choose from.
  • Ann Taylor: $$ While Ann Taylor doesn’t have tons of cocktail dresses, they do have several classic little black dresses at reasonable prices that are one fabulous necklace away from cocktail worthy.
  • Long Tall Sally: $-$$ From cocktail dresses to shoes up to size 15, LTS will have you fashionably dressed for your next event.

Shoes

  • DSW: $ Find trendy and classic shoes up to size 15 and in wide options.
  • Long Tall Sally: $ This online boutique only sells shoes in size 9-15 (and they’re good looking!)
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom carries a decent amount of their most popular shoes in a special 10.5 and up section. (You can also search by wide foot and wide calf!)
  • Shoes of Prey:$$-$$$ Can’t find any shoes you like? This website allows you to create your own. No longer does your long, narrow foot have to wear ugly shoes. Sizes up to 15 in varying widths.
  • Zappos:$-$$ Zappos has a nice range of styles from tennis shoes to professional heels all the way up to a size 20!

Subscriptions

none 🙁


where to find clothing for petite womenPETITE

Casual/Everyday Clothing

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Similar to talls, Ann Taylor provides a whole section of classic, refined clothing just for petite women.
  • ASOS: $ Well priced casual and going out clothing for a younger crowd. Great selection of petite clothing.
  • Banana Republic:$$ BR has a nice selection of casual and professional clothing for petites both online and in stores (some stores have a petite section that’s just as big as the ‘regular’ section!)
  • Dress Barn:$ A great option for both career or casual clothing in petite sizes. You can also find a Dress Barn in most larger towns, so buying things online isn’t your only option.
  • Gap:$ More casual than BR, but with dressy options like tailored pants and blazers. Their pant options for petite (and tall) are quite extensive.
  1. JCPenney: $ Like many other department stores, JCP offers a specific petite shopping section on their website. While most of the clothes are casual, you can find professional separates like skirts, dresses, and jackets.
  • J.Crew: $$ J.Crew offers a nice variety of preppy clothes in petite sizes. You’ll find everything from cropped sailor jeans (at least, this season!) to suits.
  • J.Jill: $ Relaxed, casual clothing in petite sizes 0P-18P. J.Jill caters to a 35+ woman.
  • Lands’ End: $ Casual clothing and swimwear is available in petite for both their original (older target market) and canvas (younger target market) lines.
  • LOFT: $ A younger and more casual version of Ann Taylor clothing complete with an entire petite section.
  • Lord & Taylor: $-$$ If you’re looking for a great variety of petite work clothes, Lord & Taylor has you covered.
  • Macy’s:$ Work clothes, lounging clothes, swimsuits, jeans…you name it, Macy’s probably has it (in petite!)
  • New York & Co.: $ Affordable clothing ranging from casual to professional. BONUS: Their new Eva Mendes collection is adorable AND available in petite.
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom offers a really wide selection of petite clothing ranging from casual t-shirts to formalwear.
  • Old Navy: $ Like its sister brands Gap and BR, Old Navy offers a good selection of casual petite clothing.
  • Talbots:$-$$ Classic casual and professional clothing in petite and petite plus sizes (up to 22w)
  • TopShop: $ Like ASOS, TopShop has casual petite clothing for a trendy, younger crowd.

Work

  • Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Dress Barn, Gap, JCPenney, J.Crew, LOFT, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Talbots

Formal/Cocktail

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Although they don’t have a lot of cocktail dresses, there are some good options you can dress up to be more formal.
  • ASOS: $ If you’re looking for a dress for an upcoming wedding/cocktail party/whatever, ASOS has a great selection.
  • Dress Barn: $ Pretty day and cocktail dress options at prices under $100.
  • Lord & Taylor:$$ Petite formal dresses in available from a variety of well known designers.
  • Macy’s: $-$$ Convenient search options allow you to find dresses for daytime, cocktail, prom, and even weddings.
  • Nordstrom:$$ A good variety of formal dresses suitable for different occasions and ages.

Wedding

  • David’s bridal: $$-$$$ They say they have a dress for every bride and every budget and I think they’re right! Petite gowns range from $99-$2000.

Swimwear/intimates

  • Dainty Lady: $ This British company only sells petite sized undergarments, and they ship anywhere!
  • Lula Lu: $ Online lingerie store specializing is petite sizes as small as AAA.

Shoes

  • Cinderella of Boston: $ This online boutique only carries sizes 2-5.5.
  • DSW: $ DSW offers shoes all the way down to size 3.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Forget shopping in the children’s section. Nordstrom has cute shoes (flats, heels, you name it) down to a size 4. There’s even a ‘4.5 and under’ search option.
  • ShoeBuy: $ Online retailer with a variety of shoes brands in sizes as low as 4.
  • Shoes of Prey:$$-$$$ Can’t find any shoes you like? This website allows you to create your own as small as size 2!
  • Zappos: $-$$ Zappos has a nice range of styles from tennis shoes to professional heels as small as size 1.

Subscriptions

  • M.M.LaFleur: $$ Professional clothing subscription company that offers sizes 0P-16.
  • Stitch Fix: $ Casual clothing subscription box with a growing number of petite offerings.
  • Trunk Club:$$ Casual and professional clothing picked by a stylist and sent to you at your request (so, not technically a subscription because it doesn’t come every month unless you want it to!) Inquire about special sizes.

petite women shopping guide

 


Where to shop for plus size women's clothingPLUS SIZE

Casual/Everyday

  • ASOS: $ Once again, ASOS provides a great selection of casual and formal clothing in plus sizes up to 26.
  • Avenue: $ An online store exclusively for plus size women. They even carry special plus sizes like petite, tall, shoes up to size 13, and bra bands sizes 50 & 52.
  • Catherines: $ Don’t like buying online? Catherines are almost as plentiful as department stores across the US. They sell casual plus size clothing for a 30+ age woman.
  • Dillards: $-$$ Huge range of any type of clothing you could possibly want.
  • JC.Penney: $ Like other department stores, JCP has a nice selection of plus size clothing including swimwear and underwear. While they don’t sell plus suits, you can buy professional separates here.
  • Jessica London: $ An online retailer specializing in plus size clothing. They carry casual clothing, suits, cocktail dresses, lingerie, swimwear and everything in between. Sizes go up to an 8x.
  • Kohl’s: $ A low cost option for casual plus sizes up to size 26W.
  • Lane Bryant:$ Online and brick and mortar retailer specializing in plus sizes. They carry everything from work clothing to swimwear (and activewear!)
  • Lands’ End: $ Lands’ End signature classic style and great quality is available up to size 26w.
  • Lord & Taylor: $-$$ A range of casual and formal styles from various designers that go up to size 30.
  • Macy’s: $ Having trouble finding professional clothing in plus sizes? Macy’s has you covered with a special ‘wear to work’ search option.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Nordstrom proves that plus doesn’t have to be frumpy or for just a certain age group.
  • Simply Be:$ Simply Be carries sizes 8-28 exclusively and cater to curvy figured women who want trendy clothing. :
  • Talbots: $-$$ Classic casual and professional clothing in regular plus (sizes 12w-24w) and petite plus (12w-22w).
  • Torrid: $ Trendy, casual clothing for women sizes 10-30.

Work

  •  Dillards, Jessica London, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Talbots

Formal/Cocktail

  • Dillards: $-$$ Get your sparkle on with dresses for all occasions.
  • JC.Penney: $ From mother of the bride to cocktail hour, JCP offers a nice range of occasion dresses at a good price.
  • Lane Bryant: $ Classic cocktail dresses for (mostly) less than $100 a pop.
  • Nordstrom: $$ Lots of options for plus size women including a whole prom collection!

Wedding

  • David’s Bridal: $-$$$ Find plus size wedding dresses in sizes up to 26. Prices range from $40-$2000 and you can even search for plus size petite.

Swimwear/Intimates

  • ASOS: $ Find trendy swimwear up to size 24 and/or size 38 DDD/F. They also have cute lingerie up to size 24 and/or cup size 44L.
  • Bare Necessities: $ Classic undergarments up to a size 58B.
  • Catherines: $ If you’re more concerned about function and practicality when it comes to underwear than lacy little nothings, Catherines is the right place for you. They also have a nice selection of swimwear.
  • JCPenney: $ Affordable swimwear and intimates with sizes up to 26w.
  • Lands’ End: $ Lots of swimwear options up to 26w and a nifty search tool that allows you to filter results based on things like ‘sun protection’ and ‘conceal thighs’.
  • Lord & Taylor: $ L&T is bringing sexy back for women who wear sizes up to 38I. They also have plain panties too, if that’s more your thing.
  • Macy’s: $ Pajamas, shapewear, sexy lingerie, and basic undergarments- Macy’s has anything you could need.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Sexy lingerie and practical undergarments and shapewear for up to size 48F in certain styles.
  • Simply Be: $ A diverse range of underwear and swimwear…they even have mermaid blankets!
  • Torrid: $ Fun and trendy underwear and swimwear for sizes up to 48DDD.

Shoes (see wide shoes below)

Subscriptions

  • Dia & Co:$ Monthly clothing subscription box specifically for women sizes 14+.
  • Gwynnie Bee:$ Subscription clothing box company for sizes 10-32.
  • Stitch Fix:$ A casual subscription clothing company that offers sizes 14W-24W and 1X-3X.
  • Trunk Club:$$ Casual and professional clothing picked by a stylist and sent to you at your request (so, not technically a subscription because it doesn’t come every month unless you want it to!) Enquire about special sizes.
  • Plvsh:$-$$ Personal styling subscription box (for sizes 14+) that could include casual or professional clothing based on your needs.

plus size shopping guide

 


where to find wide shoes for womenWIDE SHOES

*Wide shoe hunting tip*: think outside the box. You might not think of shopping for shoes at a plus size store if you aren’t plus size, but these types of stores usually carry a good selection of wide shoes!

Here are some great places to find wide shoes:

  • ASOS: $ Trendy, wide, AND well-priced…is that even possible? With ASOS it is.
  • DSW:$ DSW not only offers wide shoes, but they also carry them in sizes 4-15.
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom has you covered with four different wide categories including: wide calf, wide, extra wide, and extra-extra wide.
  • Shoes of Prey: $$-$$$ Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Create your own! Shoes of Prey allows you to customize your own shoes including length (sizes 2-15) and width (both narrow- extra wide).
  • ShoeBuy: $ Online retailer carrying a variety of wide shoes from different brands ranging from size 4-17.
  • Simply Be: $ Under the footwear category, Simply Be let’s you choose between with type of wide shoes you’re looking for (sandals, boots, heels, flats, etc.)
  • Zappos:$-$$ Zappos has a reputation for having a wide shoe selection and for a good reason- they carry sizes 1-15 and AAA through extra extra wide including tennis shoes, casual, and professional shoes.

wide feet shopping guide

Whew, that was a lot of information! Be sure to bookmark this page (and download the cheat sheets for your preferred size) so that you know where to turn next time you need to go shopping.

 

FYI: I cover dressing different body types in an entire chapter of my Style Guide E-course (plus lots more!) If you struggle getting ready in the morning or you have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear- this is going to be your lifesaver.

 

Tell me…what’s your favorite place to shop for hard to fit clothes?

Cheers,

Leslie

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how to create a personal brand

The 5 Secrets to Developing a Stand Out Personal Brand

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We can theorize about personal branding and mission statements all day, but unless we put any of it to practice in an applicable way, it doesn’t do any good. Unless you understand what your personal brand is, the rest of this book will just be entertaining fluff. Here’s the thing. I didn’t sit down and write a book about how to make you look pretty. Yes, I am all about you looking fabulous, but my intent is to help you create a look and then use it to be successful. There are plenty of books out there on how to get dressed. There are even more on how to do it with style. I want to tell you how to alter your appearance to get what you want. Whether it’s a better job, happier home life, or improved self-esteem, I want you to be living to your fullest potential. And that’s something that needs to start from the inside, from your personal branding, and then move its way outward.

 

So, let’s talk about your brand. I promise it will be easier than you think. Remember, we are trying to figure out what makes you, uniquely you. This includes personality traits, general characteristics, and accomplishments. It’s everything that sets you apart from others in your home, office, town, state, and even country. Everyone has a personal brand, but most people’s brands aren’t realized or well developed. Using the following secrets, you can create a strong personal brand that will serve as a solid foundation for your future success!

Side note: the following is an excerpt from my book: Dressing Your Personal Brand. To download the entire book, click here.

personal branding short version

Secret #1: Strong personal brands are a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic traits.

This is something a lot of people either forget, or disregard. Your personal brand isn’t just about who you are, but what you’ve done, and how you’ve accomplished it. It’s not just what you’ve done (e.g. Where you’ve gone to school, awards you’ve won, accounts you’ve landed…). It’s not just about your personality (e.g. Extrovert, leader, intuitive…) or about how you your personality manifests itself (E.g. Outgoing, team player, problem solver…). Rather, a strong personal brand includes traits from all of these areas. There are several reasons why this is.

 

For one, it shows that there are multiple facets to you other than how you were born or what you’ve accomplished. Think about it. Any of the above characteristic sets can be entirely independent of another when creating a personal brand. One whole set of traits without any of the other sets leads the recipient to believe that you have certain qualities, but don’t know how to use them. For example, if I say I am a Harvard graduate with a PhD in Biology and a successful career in research- that only describes my accomplishments. Alternatively, if that same person said, “I am an extrovert with a positive attitude and upbeat personality”, they’re really only talking about their intrinsic traits. The best personal brands show a blend of intrinsic and extrinsic traits. They declare, ‘this is who I am and what I’ve achieved with what I’ve been given!’ For example, it would be best if the above person said, ‘I am an extroverted, ivy league graduate who is passionate about finding cures to common diseases in order to help everyday people.” See how much more powerful it is when you combine the qualities you are born with and what you’ve accomplished?

 

Secret #2: Your personal brand is like a lock.

Remember those good old combination locks you were assigned in gym class during middle and high school? Every lock contained the same numbers, but each lock had their own special combination of those numbers that caused it to open up. Personal brands are very similar. The human population as a whole contains all the same characteristics, traits, and accomplishments. However, it’s the way in which these are combined that make your personal brand special to you and unlock your full potential! Many people believe that they have to reinvent the wheel or discover a whole new personality trait in order to have a successful brand. This isn’t true at all. The key isn’t to make up characteristics that nobody else has, but rather to find the right combination of traits that you possess to create a new (or at least new to your desired audience) sequence. If you want to add some novelty into your combination, you do that by altering what you do or accomplish. For example, there are lots of philanthropic, anthropology graduates. However, there are much fewer philanthropic, anthropology graduates that have devoted significant amounts of time to studying a specific species of animal just as Jane Goodall studied apes.

 

There is no one size fits all method to identifying your personal brand. However, I usually recommend that people narrow down their five strongest descriptors and use that as their personal brand. Just as a combination lock may be 12 + 4 + 7 + 22 + 35 = open, your personal brand can do the same with this simple formula: intrinsic personality trait + accomplishment + general characteristic + goal + passion = winning personal brand! In a sentence it would look like, ‘My name is Kathy and I am an extroverted, award winning research scientist who uses my compassionate nature to pursue the cure for cancer and help everyone I come in contact with.’ Each of the individual parts of this sentence are true for hundreds of people, but when you pull together the parts that are uniquely yours, then you can accurately describe your own personal brand.

 

Just think of your personal brand statement as a ‘cut to the chase’ elevator speech. In a few seconds or less, what do you want the other person to know about you? With a successful elevator speech or personal brand statement you lay down your most important cards, and in doing so, will attract others who share the same passions and goals as you. Here’s a personal example of how a strong personal brand statement can help you. A few months ago, I was attending a small entrepreneurial networking session and we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves. Some of the attendees seemed caught off guard and stuttered a short line of thoughts like, “well, I’m Jake and my wife and I are thinking about possibly starting a fishing business, maybe”. Other people, like myself, confidently threw out their personal brand statements along with an invitation to talk afterwards. I think I used some version of, “Hi, My name is Leslie Friedman. I’m an author, speaker and image consultant who is passionate about helping people leverage their personal brands and their appearances to be more successful. I really enjoy collaborating with other entrepreneurs, so don’t be shy to come say hi after the program; I’d love to talk to you.” It is simple and to the point. Not every person in the room found me after the program to say hi, but the ones that did were also aligned with my goals and came with opportunities. A solid personal brand statement not only helps you keep focused, but it is a key component to opening doors.

how to develop a strong personal brand

Secret #3: Don’t forget about your end goal.

I’m sure you have a lot of characteristics, goals, passions, accomplishments, and traits that define you. The key to picking the right ones for a strong personal brand depend on what you want to accomplish with your brand. Remember when we talked about your end goal and having a mission statement? If you don’t know what your end goal is, then it will be very difficult to pull together a personal brand that will lead you there. Just as you need to pick the right paint when painting different parts of a house, you need to find the right combination of attributes that will help you accomplish your end goal best. If the aforementioned, bio-scientist Kathy wants to help elementary aged children by having a long career as a second grade teacher, then her personal branding statement is way off. If her goal is to be a notable, bio-researcher with a significant influence in the realm of disease prevention, then she is right on track. Nabisco probably had a clear end goal in mind when they created Oreo, and they made sure that the branding around the Oreo cookie ensured the success of reaching that goal. In this same way, we need to make sure our brand is properly setting us up for our end goals.

 

Secret #4: The easiest way to discover your brand is by not trying.

Your personal brand is 100% you and there’s no one who has a clearer view of you than those around you. So, if you’re stumped about what your brand is, sit back and let the people around you throw in their input. Simply ask any objective, third party person who spends time around you (a coworker is a great option) to describe who you are. Better yet, have them describe you to another coworker. The more people you sample, the better picture you will be able to make about yourself. It is also worthwhile to ask the people that know you the best (spouses, family members, friends) how they would describe you. Most likely, your personal brand is going to be a combination of the two opinions. While this is one of the most effective ways to find out what your personal brand is, it can also be the most painful- especially if you’re not branding yourself to your fullest potential.

 

If other’s responses are way off base compared to how you would describe yourself, your brand is having an identity crisis. Look into inconsistencies and ask yourself 1) which way you would like to be seen and 2) what you’re doing to elicit an undesired response. Maybe you think working through your lunch hour every day brands you as hardworking and dedicated, but really it comes off as aloof and as a bad team player.

 

Even if you have your personal brand down pat (these are the traits I want to be known for!) it’s important to consistently ask for feedback to make sure your branding is accurate. Large companies are constantly soliciting feedback on their products and their brand image to ensure that the image they are presenting to the consumer is exactly the branding they desire. Find the combination of attributes that is most accurate for you and most effective to reaching your end goal and then double check it over year after year to make sure you are always on track for success.

personal branding quote

Secret #5: Your personal brand might change. And that’s okay.

The personal brand you develop during the length of this book may not be the same brand you have in twenty years. It may not even be the brand you have in five or ten years, and to be completely honest, it shouldn’t be. Hopefully, you are constantly in the process of developing and growing into a bigger and better person. Throughout your life you will have different accomplishments, experiences, and encounters that affect your goals, missions, and values. You will also have different priorities today than ten years from now. If you’re a young, professional making their mark in the workplace, you may place more value on being seen as knowledgeable and experienced. Ten or fifteen years down the road, however, you may place more value on being known as a leader and a great communicator. The key is to constantly reassess your mission statement and your personal brand statement to ensure that it aligns up with who you want to be today and the short term future. When you are younger, your brand statement may change as much as every year to every five years, while at the peak of your career, it will probably change every ten to fifteen years.

personal branding secrets and checklist

Coming up with a personal brand that is reflective of your true self shouldn’t be difficult. If you’re forcing a certain goal or character trait on yourself that doesn’t come naturally or that you aren’t passionate about, you’ll have a hard time living out your brand. It’s much easier and less energy consuming to actively develop and pursue a brand that feels like second nature.

To your branding success!

Leslie

PS> Like what you read? This is only a small portion of my book: Dressing your Personal Brand. Read the rest of the book here.

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personal branding strategies for work

Personal Branding Strategies for the Workplace

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When we think about work, personal branding isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. After all, personal branding is personal and most of us make a decent effort to keep our personal and professional lives somewhat separated. The truth is, however, that our personal brands (and, therefore, our personal branding strategies) are vital components of the workplace. Each person in a company is important to the success of the company as a whole. That means, of course, that each personal brand plays an important role in helping the company reach its goals.

Think of the company Procter & Gamble. P&G is a huge company, and a brand within itself, but it’s made up of smaller companies- each with their own brand. Crest, Tampax, and Downy are all brands that create relatively unrelated products. However, they are all home and hygiene brands, which fall under the larger brand of P&G. Without the smaller brands that reflect the objectives of the P&G brand as a whole, P&G wouldn’t even be a brand. Personal brands work the same way in the workplace. Your company has its own objectives, goals, and brand. As part of the company, you are one of the smaller brands that helps the parent company reach its goals.

If your company or organization is the big parent company (like P&G, Nestle, Mars, etc) then there are four different types of smaller brands that make up that company. These ‘smaller brands’ are the personal brands of four different groups of people:

  1. Employers
  2. Employees
  3. Customers
  4. Job Seekers

Each one of these groups, is filled with their own brands. A successful company should understand what brand each group represents and how it relates to the company as a whole.

 

strategies for employers

Employers:

Your main objective as an employer, is to find employees whose personal brands fill your company’s needs, and then effectively lead them to build a successful company. Think about the people directly under your supervision. Can you name their strengths? If you had to describe each person in one sentence, what would that sentence say? Would it be hard to do? If you don’t know what your employees bring to the table, then you are probably missing out on utilizing their greatest strengths. This is bad, obviously for the company, but also for the employee, who probably feels unsatisfied in their position. When employees are living out their brands and doing what they do best, then they are more likely to report job satisfaction. As the employer, you know that happy workers create a better workplace, more productivity, and less turnover (hint: all of these things leads to more profit!)

 

Employer personal branding strategies:

Take some time to sit down and think about every employee you have. (If you are in charge of a large number of people, maybe just choose your direct reports.) Pretend that someone has asked you to describe who they are in a few phrases. What would you say? Write down each employee’s name and their greatest strengths. Now, think about your company. What are the biggest needs or challenges facing your company right now? Compare the two lists. Do you currently have people’s strengths matched up properly to help fulfill your company’s goals? What could you do differently? Keep your employee strength/brand list handy for when a new project pops up. Use the list to help you find the right person for the job. Here’s a nifty worksheet to help you get started.

 

Customers:

Without customers or clients, you can’t have a business. Because of this very obvious fact, it’s important to think about who your customer is and how they would describe their own personal brand. What is important to them? What traits do they value? This is why market research is an essential aspect of any company. Here’s something really cool: if our company brand (or the brand of someone associated with the company) is able to resonate with a customer’s personal brand, then an immediate emotional connection is made- whether the customer needs our products or not. This emotional connection is KEY to creating loyal customers.

Customer personal branding strategies:

Why do your customers like your brand? Why do they buy your products? If you don’t know, ASK THEM! If you hear repetitive answers, you’re onto something. Be sure to continually assess your marketing strategy. Are you marketing to the right group? Are you forming an emotional bond? Does the personal brand of your customer make sense with your company’s brand?

 

strategies for employees

Employees:

As an employee, you want to set yourself apart from everyone else (and, therefore, set yourself up for success) by cultivating a strong personal brand. Imagine that your boss is sitting in a conference room right now and is asked by his supervisor to pick one person from his department to fire and one to promote. You certainly don’t want to lose your job, but you also don’t want him to hem and haw about who he should promote. You want him to not waste a second before announcing, “[your name] is the first and only person that is perfect for the promotion job!” A strong personal brand has the power to produce those kinds of results. If you haven’t started thinking about your brand, then consider the following strategy…

Employee personal branding strategies:

Write down your job title and ask yourself, “what makes me different from everyone else with this job title?” Make a list of accomplishments, character traits, and experiences that help set you apart from everyone else. Now ask yourself, “Do my actions, words, and appearance consistently reflect the attributes on the list I just made?” (Ex. if you wrote: professional, outgoing, excellent writing skills… then evaluate if you are displaying those traits the best you can in the workplace). Think about what you want to be known for within the workplace. It might just be one word: Dedication. Integrity. Leadership. Choose a word or short phrase and write it down somewhere. Do your best to live out that word or phrase through your actions, words, and appearance every day. When a new project comes up and your boss needs someone with outstanding leadership, (s)he won’t have to think twice about giving the project to you. Download a FREE worksheet to get started.

job seekers strategies

Job seekers:

If you’re not in a company, then you’re probably looking for somewhere to work (unless you’re retired, of course). Knowing your own personal brand and finding a company that holds similar values, makes the job search process more difficult, but also more rewarding in the end. Think of the first job you had out of college. If you’re like the majority of people, you did not enjoy the job, but you had to make money and pay off student loans. Very few people I know actually loved their first job. You know why? Because when you’re inexperienced, you have less options and, therefore, you are less picky about what job you choose. If they want you and they will pay you, then you sign up. The downside of this mentality to job seeking, however, is that you end up working for companies that don’t reflect your personal values. Your personal brand doesn’t align with their company brand…but you need a job, so you overlook that. Sometimes we just need to pay the bills, but if you’re looking for a fulfilling career, try the job seekers strategy below.

 

Job seeker personal branding strategies:

Before you even apply to a company: research, research, research! What is the company’s mission statement? What is their brand? What about the work culture? Do these things support your personal brand or are they totally different? Remember when we talked about P&G? P&G is a company comprised mostly of home and hygiene brands for personal use. It makes sense that P&G owns Head & Shoulders. It wouldn’t make sense if they owned Avis car rental. It doesn’t matter if you’re Head & Shoulders or Avis, just make sure the company you’re applying to makes sense with your brand! After you find a company or list of companies, identify their greatest needs. Compare those needs with your brand and your strengths and come up with concrete examples showing how you can bridge the gap. Tailor your resume to mostly show your ‘bridge’ skills and experiences (the ones that show you are capable of bridging the gap and solving their problems!) Make sure your interview answers also bridge the gap and show how you, in your truest form, can help fulfill the company’s needs. Use this FREE worksheet to help you get started.

 

Whether we know it or not, all of us have a personal brand. It might not be intentionally developed, but it’s there. Both personal and corporate success is possible by understanding personal brands and putting them to work to achieve your goals (no matter what workplace group you’re in!)

 

To your success!

Leslie

 

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