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How to Choose the Best Outfit for Your Business Headshot

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So, maybe the last blog post hit you a little deep and you decided it’s time for a real, professional headshot. Doing some research and finding the right photographer is the easy part. It starts getting hard, and quite frankly- overwhelming, when we start thinking about everything else required like picking out an outfit, doing your hair, choosing makeup, etc.

I’m going to use the full body photo I just had taken last week (maybe you saw my live video, if not, watch it here and like my Facebook page so you don’t miss out on the next one!) to walk you through, step by step, how to choose an appropriate outfit for your business picture/headshot.

PictureBusinessPic

(Huge kuddos to Stephen at Giraffe Photography for the above picture)

As you can see in the above picture, I broke the decision process into four steps:

  1. Garment Type. The best place to start anything is at the beginning, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here. You need to start by deciding what type of garment you’d like to wear. Whatever you choose needs to be appropriate for your position and be able to resonate with your future clients. For example, a lawyer wearing a polished suit would be both appropriate and be seen in a positive manner from potential clients. On the other hand, if a laid back bar owner wore a suit, it may look out of place or trying to hard (as compared to a more casual look). I chose a dress because I cater to women and I want to be seen as feminine, professional, and fashionable. I also chose a dress because I knew that I wanted a full body picture that would show off an entire garment.

2.  Color. Once I decided to wear a dress, and before I even started thinking about what dress I wanted to wear, I picked a color. Color is the easiest way to instantly send a message to your viewer and it’s also the easiest way to make you look younger and more vibrant or old and worn out. This goes without saying, but choose a color that looks good on you. Red looks good on me and it is also a strong, memorable color.

3.  Fit. Now that I’ve decided on my garment type (dress) and color (red), I need to figure out what kind of dress I want. Once again, I wanted something feminine and sexy, but still business appropriate. I genetically have thin legs (thanks, mom!), so I always try to accentuate my waist, hips, and legs. I chose something that was most blousey on top to even out the fitted nature of the bottom of the dress (this keeps me from looking like a skank) and give me a more hourglass shape. Like most women, I am a pear shape with a bigger bottom half than top half (read: I have no boobs whatsoever). Just like choosing a color, the key is to find a fit that flatters. If you don’t have that perfect dress in your closet, don’t worry. Between friends, siblings, and rental companies, you can find exactly what you’re looking for at minimum cost (more on that later).

4.   Accessories. Leaving out accessories is like walking away from a painting before you’ve finished painting. I like to keep accessories to minimum so that don’t distract, but I also make sure that the ones that I do wear are impactful. I am particularly a huge fan of pearls. Pearls can brighten up the face and are traditional enough that people don’t get distracted by them. After all, you want the viewer to focus on your face rather than your jewelry. Be sure to also think of your hair, nails, and makeup as an accessory. How can you alter each of these items to enhance your natural look without making yourself look fake or contrived?

Let’s talk money. Some people can hire an Image Consultant like myself to tell them exactly what to wear, go shopping with them, and recommend hair salons for hair and makeup the day of. However, the majority of us don’t have a pretty penny budgeted in for professional headshots. You’ve probably already taken the leap to hire a professional photographer and you’re dealing with the sticker shock (compared to those subpar free photo sessions your company provides occasionally) and thinking, ‘I can’t afford to go out and buy all new clothes!!’ These next few tips are for you:

  •  Borrow. If you have a friend that has the perfect suit that you need for your picture, simply ask. Be sure the have the suit professionally dry cleaned afterwards as a thank you. You can also borrow shoes, accessories, etc.
  • Rent an outfit. I rented my dress and necklace from Rent the Runway in order to get an expensive designer look for much less. You could also get a subscription to any clothes service (le tote, etc) and use pieces from that.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own makeup or hair, get it done at the makeup counter at Sephora (be sure to buy something, though!) or book an appointment with a cosmetology school for a blowout and makeover. If you do your makeup yourself, be sure to ask the photographer (or do some online research) for tips. Makeup shows up differently in different lights.
  • Take into account what you know will show. If you are getting a traditional headshot (unlike my full body pic), you don’t really need to worry about the kind of bottoms or shoes you are wearing. Finding a perfect blouse may be exactly what you need and is much easier to pull together than an entire perfect outfit, so don’t get bogged down trying to assemble something that won’t even be seen.

I spent under $75 on the outfit you see above. The shoes I already owned, but those are basic black pumps that I could have easily borrowed from a friend. The dress ($55) and necklace ($10) came from Rent the Runway and since it was my first rental, I got an extra 20% off. I did a lot of online research to figure out what makeup would be the best and I did my own (pro tip: don’t use anything with SPF! It will reflect camera light and make you look greasy). I also did a lot of trial and error at home to make sure I knew how to create the hairstyle I wanted. All in all, the most expensive part was the clothing, but as the key component that makes this photo really stand out, I think it was worth it.

Good luck with your next photoshoot!!

If you liked what you read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling book: Dressing Your Personal Brand! Check out the first chapter below for free!

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How Your Weekend Clothes May Be Hurting Your Career

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It’s a Sunday afternoon and you are strolling through the grocery store focused on remembering which cereal your 8 year old wants (this week) when all of sudden you turn a corner and spot your boss. You immediately look for a place to hide. It’s not that you don’t want to talk about work (which you don’t) but rather that you don’t want to run into the person who pays you to be a professional, while wearing a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants. It’s a Sunday, and you aren’t at work, but you still don’t want to leave that image in their mind.

Sound familiar?

weekend clothing and your career

As awkward as this situation is, especially when you are recognized despite your avid attempts to hide behind the first product available (great. now your boss also thinks you are incredibly interested in the children’s game on the back of the Fruit Loops box), at least you recognize something very important- It matters what you wear outside work.

It’s not fair, but it is true: you are constantly being observed, and judged.

You don’t want your boss to see you because they (hopefully) have a professional image of you that you’d rather not have shattered. They know it’s the weekend, but that doesn’t keep them from thinking, ‘wow, Leslie sure looked rough the other day.’ Most of us want to look somewhat respectable in front of our employers, and we realize that not doing so could potentially hurt our careers. This especially true if you work in a professional services based field. (Think about it- would you want a lawyer from your firm walking around Walmart in an offensive t-shirt? Probably not.)

What we don’t often realize, though, is that sartorially slacking off could hurt our careers- even if the boss is no where in sight.

Nobody understands better than someone working in a client driven field that customers are everywhere. Whether you are a realtor, sales representative, or entrepreneur, future clients are everywhere that we are. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve been able to tell about my consulting services while hanging out at the dog park, in line at the grocery store, or even in the gym locker room. It is, after all, the logical thing to talk about after that first oh so typical ‘so, what do you do?’ question. As an image consultant I have to be very particular about how I look most of the time (it’s very difficult to make someone believe you are an image consulting professional while you are wearing gross paint covered workout clothes while taking the dog on a walk. Trust me, I’ve tried.) And, I would argue that if you are in a field that offers professional services, that you should too. All it takes is one pulled together outfit for the conversation to move from “oh, that’s an interesting job” to “oh, how fascinating. I could really use your services with my business”. Your appearance can produce strong psychological effects like that. Embrace it.

Side Note- This also works the other way around: if you’re the boss. Employees who see their supervisor looking rough or inappropriate (think mini dress at a bar) are likely to let those observations affect their opinions of you.

If you aren’t in a professional service job, don’t think I’m going to let you off the hook scotch free. Your appearance matters too. Instead of running into potential clients, everyday you are running into potential employees and employers. No job is safe (sorry) and there’s no guarantee that you will be gainfully employed in six months or searching for something bigger and better. Every time your appearance makes others think something of you that is not in line with your personal brand- you run the risk or hurting your career. The last thing you want is to realize that the person you were chatting it up with at the dog park is actually the perfect person to help you get your dream job a few months down the road (when all they can remember was ‘she didn’t strike me as being very pulled together’).

So, am I encouraging you to wear a suit every time you go to CVS? Of course not. That’s just stupid. What I am saying, however, is to figure out how you want to be perceived (ie: your personal brand) and then follow the 90/10 rule. 90% of the time, look the way you want to be perceived. 10% of the time, life happens. I would lie if I said I’ve never been in the grocery store at 2am in pajamas buying all the Pepto-Bismol I can get my hands on (while googling if it’s safe for the animals too).

Say you want to be perceived as a professional who is organized and good at time management. You can still dress casual while portraying these characteristics. Simply make sure your clothes are ironed before going into (and thus coming out) of your closet and that your garments are clean and fit well.
Here’s a good example of someone (who wants to be seen as a professional) dressing casually:

And here’s a bad example:

Okay, that’s probably a little extreme for a bad example, but you get the point. Avoid sloppy and aim for clothes that actually fit. My secret is to have a go-to outfit ready any time I need to leave the house in a hurry. This is generally a nice pair of jeans (I like J.Crew) and a pressed oxford button down paired with cute flats. If I don’t have an ironed shirt, I have several semi-fitted lightweight sweaters that also work well.

Looking like you care, no matter where you are headed will make a difference. I promise! The more consistent you keep your personal brand (including what you’re wearing!!) the stronger your brand (and as a result, your networks, your career, your sphere of influence) will become.

Happy Dressing,

Leslie

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3 Things To Consider About Sexism in Hollywood and the #Askhermore Movement

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I’m not usually an awards show kind of person, but I did tune into the Oscars last weekend if only to watch Chris Rock hate on Hollywood. Even if you didn’t watch his opening monologue (or anything else) you know that Rock came down hard on Hollywood for being racist and really drove the #OscarsSoWhite stake into the coffin. He also addressed, albeit briefly, another -ism in Hollywood: Sexism.

For several years now, Hollywood has been shamed for asking women different questions on the red carpet (namely, what are you wearing?) than men (who get questions such as, ‘what did you enjoy most about your role?’) Actresses such as Reese Witherspoon have taken a stand and asked journalists to ask them more than superficial things like how long it took them to get ready for the red carpet. Not surprisingly, there’s a catchy little hashtag that goes along with this effort that is appropriately titled- #askhermore.

via GIPHY

Cate Blanchett calls out the E! camera crew in this famous GIF

While I agree with the fact that Hollywood is far from the point of gender equality, there are 3 important things to consider when approaching this topic:

1. It hasn’t always been this way.
In 2015, Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Ryan Seacrest tried eliminating the “Who are you wearing” question in 2010, and was criticized heavily for it. “Hey Ryan, Talk to the Dress” read a New York Times style column headline that detailed the backlash from fashion bloggers. ‘It was almost like he wasn’t that interested in the designers,’ designer Nicole Miller said. ‘He seemed more interested in the celebrities and their careers.'” The article goes on to say, “Joan Rivers once said that when she first asked “who are you wearing,” the New York Times criticized her for “improper grammar” and said nobody cared about what designers people wore. In 1999, the mother-daughter team were bumped off the carpet 30 minutes early and was replaced by Geena Davis. “And she gave all of these interviews beforehand and a press conference and guaranteed everyone that she would not ask actresses who they are wearing. ‘It is about the actors,’ ” Melissa Rivers told VF. “And then, literally, 10 seconds into her first interview with Helen Hunt, which I still remember, and [Geena] was clearly out of questions, she asked, ‘And … who are you wearing?’ ” (Read the whole article here.) To be clear, I’m not saying that because it’s been tried before with low rates of success we should abandon the #askhermore movement. Rather, we should try to figure out what is really happening here and dig a little deeper.

2. It’s not just “Hollywood”
‘Hollywood’ is an easy term to throw around (and under a bus) because it is an abstract idea that combines several different industries and lots of different people. Hollywood isn’t just famous people, but it’s the machines that give their fame a stage. It’s the movie industry (and the millions involved), the theatre industry, the music industry, etc. It’s also the people that help make the famous who they are. They are the stylists, the makeup artists, the public relations wizards. And then there’s the media. All of these people play into what we refer to as ‘Hollywood’ (and I didn’t even mention award show judges). It’s easy to place blame on something far away and abstract. Why do you think so many people blame the government for anything and everything? In order for racism, sexism, or any other -ism to disappear, each industry and individual needs to start thinking differently. They need to ask questions like, “why can’t an Asian play this role?”, “why can’t we ask everyone deeper questions on the runway?”, “why not write/nominate a film told from a woman’s point of view?” But here’s the thing. This isn’t just ‘Hollywood’s’ fault; it’s also our own. Why do you think the whole red carpet extravaganza exists anyhow? It’s not for the actresses and actors being honored. Hell, they’d probably rather have a private cocktail party with each other then peacock around answering questions. But, that’s not what we want. We, the general public, want to see the stars in all their glory. We want to hear snippets of their lives (even if it’s just what they are wearing). We are the force driving the ratings that decide the event. If no one tuned into the red carpet part of any awards show, do you think it would still exist? I guarantee it would get nixed as quickly as Joan and Melissa Rivers in 1999.

3. This is a great opportunity
Women (and men) should see this as an opportunity to stand out. The actors and actresses that go to award shows are both beautiful and talented. If they weren’t somewhat attractive, they wouldn’t be on the screen (sorry if you weren’t aware of this American reality/tragedy) and if they weren’t talented, they wouldn’t be at the award shows. What differs you from your fellow actress/actor isn’t necessarily how beautiful/talented you are, but rather, who you are. And what better time is there than on national television to show the world who you are. You might say that the stars can’t show their true selves because they aren’t asked the right questions. That’s like saying you did poorly at a job interview because they didn’t ask the right questions. In a job interview, you know what you want to get across to the audience, and you find a way to do it. Maybe you change the questions in your favor, maybe you take control of the conversation and lead it to where you want it to go. If you want the audience (the employee) to know what you’re all about, you find a way to do it. Likewise, if you really want to tell the world what you’re all about, find a way to do it. Obviously not many people are doing this, but the ones that do (Cate Blanchett, Reese Witherspoon) are really setting themselves apart (in a good way). We have a lot of control over what our appearance tells people. Actresses and actors have full control over what they wear. Why not turn it into a statement? “I decided to wear Diane Von Furstenburg tonight because I admire her activism when it comes to women’s rights.” “No one should have to die for a piece of jewelry and that is why I am only wearing Brilliant Earth diamonds tonight.” “The only thing important about my skincare regime is my sunscreen. One great thing about xyz movie [I was nominated for] was that I had the opportunity to talk to people in [insert area of film] about the importance of skin cancer screening and prevention. Every hour, one person dies of melanoma, and that is one person too many.” Why isn’t anyone answering those superficial questions like this? Regardless of what the nature of the question is and whether it will ever change- we will always have the power to answer in any way we please. The women that answer the questions in a way that is different and true to themselves will be set apart.

We can cry, shout, and complain as much as want about sexism in Hollywood, but nothing will change without action on all fronts. If you want things to change, understand that you may be part of the problem, take action to make a difference, and support the celebrities that take a chance by being vulnerable and integrating their passion into their presence.

What do you think about sexism in Hollywood and/or the #askhermore campaign? I’d love to hear your comments.

Leslie

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How Active Are Your Clothes?

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At the risk of sounding really nerdy, I just want to throw this out there: sometimes I read research articles. Okay. Actually I may or may not have (but definitely did) get a library card with the sole intent of accessing databases like Ebscohost. So there’s that.

Usually the articles I read are clothing related (shocking, I know) and many of them present information that isn’t wholly revolutionary. However, in every research article, there is always a jewel. It might be a statistic that is fresh and undiscovered. It might be a quote that makes me think about the same old topic in a new way. Whatever it is, I savor those little moments.

Tonight I was reading, “Consumers’ clothing disposal behaviour – a synthesis of research results” by Kirsi Laitala. It was essentially a compilation of other studies dealing with why and how people dispose of clothing. Like I said before, nothing too radically new…but there was one sentence that struck me:

“Many consumers also reported on having inactive clothing in their wardrobes.”

Inactive clothing? We’ve all heard of active clothing…but never have I ever heard of clothing described as inactive. The author isn’t talking about clothing that is used for non-athletic purposes. Rather, she literally means clothing that isn’t getting any action (at least not on your body). These are the articles of clothing that just hang in our closets season after season waiting for us to lose 10 pounds, grow 5 inches, or suddenly start liking the color pink. We all have these ‘space wasters’ (as I like to call them) but how wonderful to call them inactive!

Secondhand-clothes-e1357537577213

So here’s a question. How active are your clothes? Are you getting the most out of every piece? Or do you have pieces that haven’t seen the daylight for years? If you’re not sure…just start with the ones that still have tags. Those are the epitome of inactive.

A smart wardrobe, no matter how big or how small, should be filled with active clothing. (And, no, I’m still not talking yoga pants. Although, there is a time and place for those too.) As you being to pack away your winter wardrobe, I encourage you to ask yourself how much action each item has received over the past few months. If the numbers are lingering (or non-existent), it may be time to pass that garment on to a better place.

Having trouble letting go of those inactive clothes? Think of them this way. They’re like that good looking guy that isn’t ready for a relationship and isn’t anywhere near your #1 fan. He may be good looking, but why waste time on someone that isn’t going to give you want you need. Get rid of him (don’t worry, he’ll find someone else that fits him much better) and get on with your (well dressed) life.

Leslie

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3 Sure fire search tactics to find the perfect fashion blog

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I was at a meeting last night when a friend asked, “how do you know what fashion blogs to follow? There are so many of them and I often find that the ‘above 40’ ones use clothes that are either really expensive or over the top.” It was an excellent question. How do you find that perfect blog that you will end up creepily following and referencing like you know the person personally? It’s actually easier than you think, and it’s all in how you search.

It all comes down to how you are looking.

As with anything else, you need to know what you are looking for. Do you want style inspiration that you can copy directly (ie: go out and buy the outfit and wear it to work the next day)? Do you want to entertain yourself by looking at outfits that you wouldn’t wear in everyday life? Are you looking for work appropriate inspiration or for more causal laid back looks? I would recommend that you make a list of what you are looking for in a blog. Like I said, there are lots of blogs out there, so finding the perfect match for you might not be as hard as you think!

My hypothetical list for my friend would probably read something like this:

  • Reasonably priced clothing
  • Outfit ideas that are business casual or casual
  • Outfits that aren’t too ‘out there’
  • Appropriate for 40-50 year olds

While you may assume that searching for “fashion blogs” on google may lead you to the holy grail, you might end up disappointed (as my friend was). Instead, try these:

Top 3 Ways to Search for Blogs

3. Search for the entire blog. This is generally what we are doing when we search “fashion blogs + women over 40). If you want to search for the entire blog, but you aren’t having any success with your current keywords, try changing up your search criteria. Here are several words you can use to find blogs that cater to your wish list:

  • Reasonably priced clothing (search: budget, frugal, dime, penny, broke, cheap, etc. Even though it sounds like you have no money…this really just translates into items you can buy at your local target)
  • Outfit ideas that are business casual or casual (search: weekend, casual, work, etc. Different jobs and even different parts of the country/states can be more casual or formal, so try searching for  jobs or regions. The more general the search term the more hits you will get. ex: teacher, office, rural, country, city, Midwest, etc)
  • Outfits that aren’t too ‘out there’ (Search for the term ‘style’ rather than ‘fashion’. Also, entering any of the budget keywords will probably keep the outfits pretty down to earth)
  • Appropriate for 40-50 year olds (search: over 40, mom, etc).

An example search of blog + style + teacher + casual = led me to this blog: https://thestyleteacher.wordpress.com/. Although the author is probably in her 30’s, her outfit ideas would still be applicable to my friend.

2. Search for individual posts. We don’t often think to search for individual posts, but it can be very handy in finding a good blog. Instead of searching for the concept of the whole blog, think about what you want in the posts. If you’re looking for something like daily inspiration try searching ‘blog’ and any combination of the following: ootd, style, daily, look, what I wore, etc. You may end up finding a great blog post and (of course) the fabulous blog that is attached.

1. Think outside the Google. Can I hear an amen for the person who created Pinterest? Often times, pins are taken from blogs, so it can be one of the easiest ways to find a great blog. I typed in ‘style over 40’ to the search bar on Pinterest and this is what popped up:

Screenshot 2016-01-13 at 7.01.25 PM

I didn’t even search for blogs and look what showed up! The nice thing about Pinterest is that you can see immediately if you like the style or not, instead of spending hours testing out different search words and browsing different blog posts. I’m a very visual person, so I actually use Pinterest as a search engine as much as I use Google or Bing (especially if I’m looking for something creative or fashion related).

Bonus points: Once you find a blog that really speaks to you, see who they follow. Many blogs will feature a list of other blogs that are similar to their own. You never know what kind of gem you might stumble upon.

Happy Hunting!

Leslie 

5 Fabulous Holiday Outfits

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No matter what your age, or your style, one of these 5 holiday styles is waiting for you this season!

1) Black and White with Pearls All Over

Black and White Holiday Outfit

 


2) Young and Wild

Walk on the Wild Side

 


3) Elegance Meets Comfort
Casual Elegance

 


4) Channel Your Inner Teen
Channel Your Inner Teen

 


5) Sophisticated in Silver
Sophisticated in Silver

 


Hoped you enjoyed the holiday dressing inspo. Have fun at your parties and stay safe!
xoxo,
Leslie
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The Turkey isn’t the only thing getting dressed this Thursday

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Thanksgiving is only a few short work days away and soon, airports and highways will be packed with friends and family members heading to see one another.

If you’re lucky, you might get Thursday and Friday off from work. This, however, means that you could be working late on Wednesday to try and finish any last minute items. So there you are. It’s midnight before your 5am flight and you’re staring into an empty suitcase hoping it might magically fill itself. And if that’s not enough, there’s the whole question of what to wear for Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s not exactly like you can just show up to your parent’s dining table in sweatpants…or can you?

While sweatpants may be your ultimate choice for comfort, resist the urge to don them to the dinner table. Think of it this way: your host has labored over making the perfect meal, setting the table, and preparing for guests. The least you can do to show your respect is to look like a proper human being at the dinner table. You wouldn’t wear jeans and t-shirt to a wedding, would you? Of course not. That would be horribly offensive to the bride and groom who have gone out of their way to make you part of a great event. The same applies for Thanksgiving, and I would argue- all dinner parties.

Even if the invite says ‘casual’, still make the effort to look presentable. Casual, for the record, is not the same as ‘I woke up like this’ #nofilter. Instead, take the time to do your hair and make sure your shirt is pressed. You might be wearing an oxford with jeans and flats, but you can still look respectful of your host. After all, she/he has spent all day dressing the turkey. The least you can do is dress yourself properly.

If you’re stumped about what to wear and aren’t getting any guidance from your host, try these easy solutions:

It doesn’t get much easier than a dress. If you’re traveling- choose a wrinkle free option like a knit or polyester. Picture from here.

You can’t go wrong with a white button down and black pants. Bonus points: every part of this outfit works well beyond the dining room. Photo from here.

If you want to go down a more formal path, a full midi skirt is a perfect option. The key is to make sure the skirt’s waistband hits just above the waist (this gives your stomach plenty of room to flex). A button down shirt or light wool sweater would look beautiful with this skirt also.

Everyone’s holiday gatherings are different and I’d love to hear about what you wear to yours.

Check out the poll on my Facebook and let me know what you’ll be wearing this Thursday! Click here to vote.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!

Leslie

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2015 top trends for fall: what to try and what to avoid

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The announcement of new trends always gives me mixed feelings.

On the one hand, it’s very exciting. I’m a fashionista at heart who thinks fashion is art and I don’t mind going out on a limb and wearing items that are a bit more out of the ordinary. I think the evolution of styles is incredibly intriguing and each new trend is just fuel to the fashion flame.

On the other hand, trends are aggravating. As an image consultant, I spend every day talking to clients about their appearance. Trends can be one of the most confusing things for clients (I am I too old to wear this? Should I invest in this, or is it going to become passé in a year?). A lot of times, I encourage people, especially those who get hung up on trends, to opt for a more classic route and even buck trends all together.

With that said, I am going to hash out some of the biggest trends of this Fall/Winter. If you’re a daring fashionista- this may not be the right article for you. If you live a life that calls for more mainstream fashion- tune in! I’ve researched several trends across websites like Vogue, POPSUGAR, Elle, etc. I will be using the trends POPSUGAR suggested due to their conciseness (they really focused in on the main trends instead of supplying a laundry list of items) For the full POPSUGAR article, click here. Pictures are from POPSUGAR.

Fall 2015 Trends

1. Bohemian

The Glamorous Bohemian

Leslie’s Take:  A lot of these bohemian pieces are too long for the average person to wear (without looking squat). Many of the skirts also have flounces at the bottom that are not flattering. Over the top boho embellishment is hard to wear multiple times before people start to notice that you’ve worn the same dress 7 times in the past 2 weeks (you won’t get your money out of it). Unless you are 22, live in New York and work in fashion…avoid. If you do want to try this trend- choose something you would be happy wearing again in the spring…because that’s essentially what it looks like: spring fashion.

2. Capes

Caped Crusader

Leslie’s Take: Capes are wonderful! Don’t buy a cape if: 1. you will fidget with it or 2. you don’t know what to wear under it (unless you seek help, you will never wear it). Choose a cape that is 3/4 of your body in length (otherwise, you’ll like like a lampshade) and will coordinate with pieces you already own.

3. Culottes

Opening Ceremony Fall 2015

Leslie’s Take: Culottes work for tall, thin people who work in extremely fashion forward environments. In other words- Avoid. There aren’t many people that can wear culottes and make them look good. Their time in the spotlight will probably be brief.

4.  Fringe

J.Crew Fall 2015

Leslie’s Take: Fringe is a great trend because there is so much you can do (or not do) with it. While someone younger may choose to buy a fringed mini dress or suede fringed jacket from Forever 21, it can also manifest itself in more mature ways. The scarf pictured above is a more versatile option that would be a wise long term investment. Main point- anyone can do fringe. In general, the amount of fringe  you wear should be a sliding scale based on your age (more fringe- younger, less fringe- older).

5. The Color Grey

Jason Wu Fall 2015

Leslie’s Take: Anyone can wear grey. You can’t go wrong investing in grey pieces, so take this trend to town! Just to make sure you select the right color grey. Not to get all art school, color theory on you, but…some greys are more blue and some are more red. Be sure to choose ones that compliment your complexion and not wash you out.

6. Shiny Fabrics

Rachel Zoe Fall 2015

Leslie’s Take: Remember what I said about the fringe? The same applies here. Anyone can wear shiny fabrics, however, the older you get the more you should tone it down. Think- blouse with metallic details paired with tailored pants rather than the back to the future mini dress above if you are older.

7. Pastels

Cushnie et Ochs Fall 2015

Leslie’s Take: Pastels are tricky. If you have a dark complexion, pastels are your bff. If you are like me (ahem, pasty as mayonnaise in the middle of the winter) pastels can make you look like you belong in a newborn’s nursery, not a chic event. Pastels are also very taste specific. Don’t buy anything pastel unless you truly love the color AND it looks good on you. If you can’t fulfill both of those requirements, skip it.

8. Plaid

Carolina Herrera Fall 2015

Leslie’s Take: I LOVE plaids. There are so many sophisticated plaids (like the one above) to choose from now days. Tip: pick out a plaid that has both browns and blacks in it. This will give you the versatility to wear it with both browns (and navy) and also blacks. There’s a reason the Burberry plaid has been around for so long. Embrace it!

9. Shearling

Give Me Shearling

Leslie’s Take: Maybe you’ve heard the expression- “If you wore it the first time around, don’t wear it again”? Yeah…that applies to shearling. If you’ve never owned anything shearling before and you’d like to have fun with this trend- by all means go for it! If you’re one of us who has worn it before, I would let this trend go by. If not, you’ll end up looking like you’re trying to rehash the 70’s.

As I pointed out, this is just a general guideline for the ‘average’ person who is considering what trends may or may not work for them. Remember, the best accessory is always confidence and with confidence you can wear anything.

Cheers!

Leslie

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3 ways to prevent I don’t have anything to wear syndrome

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It’s 1:30pm. Your interview/event/hot date is at 3pm and you are standing in front of your closet. freaking. out. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

There is, after all, a reason that this someecard has been shared 58,700 times:

 

 

So let’s delve into the horrible sickness of IDHATWS (aka: I don’t have anything to wear syndrome. I’m pronouncing it I’d-hat-wiss). Luckily, IDHATWS is both preventable and curable. In honor of National Stress Awareness Day, I am going to give you my top 3 tips to preventing (and curing) even your worst cases of IDHATWS.

3 ways to prevent I don't have anything to wear syndrome

3 Tips to Preventing IDHATWS

1. Identify the REAL problem.

If you’re reading this post, you probably live in a 1st world country. With that in mind, let’s be real, it’s not that you don’t have anything to wear…it’s that you don’t have anything to wear that you want to wear. Huge difference. If you continue to treat IDHATWS as if you really have no clothing, you will do nothing but shop for more clothing that you will never wear. The real problem is that you have a closet full of clothes that don’t fit/are damaged/are not appropriate/are not ‘you’/whatever. So, you should be shopping for clothing that fits you/is in good condition/appropriate for work/true to you/whatever. Understanding the problem allows you to accurately address and fix the issue.

 

2. Simplify.

Chances are you have a closet full of clothes. Maybe too full. Your mind sees a hundred different options and then just shuts down (enter stressed out mode). Start by removing everything that is damaged or doesn’t fit (it’s not like you’re wearing any of these clothes anyway). Then take out anything you haven’t worn in the past two years. GIVE IT AWAY. All this extra visual overload in your closet is not helping you any.

 

3. Shop with purpose.

If I had a dollar for every time I saw a piece of clothing in someone’s closet that still has the tags on it and heard, “but it was such a great deal” as a response… oooh Lawd, I’d  be richer than Beyoncé. When you are standing in front of your closet and are whining ‘I have nothing to wear!’ get specific. What do you want to wear? Maybe you need a suit for an interview. Maybe you realize that you don’t have a white shirt, warm scarf, black pants, or whatever. As these stressful times pop up, us them to find out what your wardrobe is missing and write it down. Now, here’s the catch: when you’re out shopping, only buy the items on your list. If you always buy with a purpose you will soon have a closet full of clothes that you actually need/want to wear rather than a bunch of pieces that ‘were on sale!!’ but don’t fit or that you don’t really love.

 

You wouldn’t necessarily assume that taking away and then streamlining options would help give you more choices, but it really does work. Think about it this way. Say you are gluten intolerant and you walk into a restaurant. You sit down and look at the menu, which is 7 pages long and not really organized in any sort of manner AND has a lot of gluten dishes on it. At this point, you would probably say, ‘there’s nothing for me to eat here!’ The waiter would come over and apologize saying, ‘there are gluten free dishes here, here, here, and here”. Satisfied that you won’t have to go hungry, you wonder why they didn’t just put all the gluten free dishes on page, or on one menu. Your closet is like that menu. If there’s a lot of stuff on (or in) it that you don’t care about, you’re going to have a hard time finding what you want. The solution? trim down to that smaller menu (or selection of clothing) that is full of things that you actually like. Then, don’t put anything on the menu that you don’t absolutely love.

Cheers!
Leslie

If you like what you just read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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Tackling the Capsule Wardrobe

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Maybe you dropped by the other day when we talked about whether a capsule wardrobe is right for you or not. If you didn’t, or if you have no idea what a capsule wardrobe is, then rewind a bit back to here where I hash out the newest trend in wardrobing (yes, that is a word…now).

If you love the idea (or maybe just want to get your feet wet) and have no idea of where or how to start, have no fear! It’s really much easier than it sounds. The hard part is not actually removing items, it’s emotionally detaching with that shirt from 5 years ago that you’ve never actually worn. When I give closet cleanout workshops, I actually have a whole slide for ‘coping with the purge’. If you forgot that you live in a 1st world country– the necessity for that slide is always a nice little reminder.

With that said, here are two methods that will help edit down your wardrobe into a capsule collection.

Starting the Closet Cleanout

Method 1: The Airplane Method

This is the easiest method to attain a capsule wardrobe, but it’s also the most extreme. Here’s what you’re going to do: follow along with me during this scenario. You are going to be visiting another town for about 4 weeks. While you’re in this town, you’ll be working your normal job and doing other daily activities that you usually do. Although the weather is very similar to your home, you have to fly to reach your destination and you are allowed one suitcase (checked) and one carry on. Your carry on is for shoes, accessories, and bags while your suitcase will hold your clothing. What are you going to pack? Now, actually play out that scenario and pack a real suitcase and duffle as if this is really happening. The clothes and accessories that you chose as the ones you ‘can’t live without’ for a month are the only ones really worth keeping (exceptions are made for sentimental items like a wedding dress). Now, take everything that you didn’t pack and put it in a box and close it up. Put the box in a garage or attic or somewhere completely out of sight. Take your new wardrobe for a test run over the next couple weeks. Is there anything you wish you would have kept? Have you completely forgotten what’s in your box after a week or two? Wait a few weeks and then, give the box away. That’s it. You’re done.

If the Airplane Method is too much to handle, your next best option is the Traditional Method.

Method 2: The Traditional Method

With this method you’ll clean out your closet in waves.

Wave 1- Get rid of anything that is damaged. If you haven’t fixed it already you probably never will.

Wave 2- Get ride of everything that doesn’t fit. Spoiler alert: if you lose 10 pounds (like you’ve been meaning to for years…) you are not going to want to put on clothes that are a decade old. You are going to want to walk into a department store and proudly announce that you are looking for size ____ and are ready for a whole new wardrobe. Trust me.

Wave 3- Get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in the past year. If you didn’t wear it last year, you probably won’t wear it next year. A good way to see what you’ve worn and haven’t worn is to put all your hangers on the rack backwards at the beginning of a season. After you’ve worn an item, return it to its hanger facing the correct direction. Yes, it is a pain in the ass to turn all your hangers so they face out from the wall, but it’s worth it.

Wave 4- Get rid of duplicates. You probably don’t need 4 pairs of black pants that all have the same fit. Narrow it down to 1. An example from my own closet: I had two chambray shirts that were pretty similar. One was from J. Crew and the other was from Old Navy and was starting to wear down. I donated the cheaper one and now I have one nice chambray shirt.

Wave 5- Okay. If you’ve been truthful, you’ve probably whittled things down quite a bit. Here’s the last wave: get rid of anything that you don’t absolutely love. I mean it. If you don’t immediately think when you see an item one of the following: “I love that ______!”, “I love the way this looks on me”, “That’s the best _____ ever”, then get rid of it. Have some high standards people. When you love what you wear, it shows! You are happier, you are nicer, you are more confident. For real. You deserve more than a bunch of meh’s.

So, now that you’ve purged…how do you keep your closet that way?? How do you start building the wardrobe you’ve always wanted? Here’s a little picture I made up so you don’t have to look at more black and white writing:

Keeping a Clean Closet

I know what you’re thinking. You have a nice, clean, empty closet. That’s awesome! Except…how is that going to get me to a capsule wardrobe? Hidden somewhere in your mass of clothing you might have had all the perfect pieces to create your own perfect capsule wardrobe. Most likely, however, the harsh editing left your closet looking a little barren. Here’s a couple key pieces of advice to live by as you start buying garments for your capsule wardrobe:
1) Don’t buy it unless you need it (remember the list from above??)
2) Don’t buy it unless it can be paired with multiple, if not almost every other garment, in your closet.
3) Don’t buy it unless it is good quality and will last.
4) Don’t buy it unless you love it.

Here’s the thing; it’s pretty simple. Buy less and buy better. Buy items that you absolutely love and can easily mix and match with everything else in your closet (that you also absolutely love. duh). Fundamentally, that’s what a capsule wardrobe is all about.

Happy Cleaning!!

xoxo- Leslie

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