Animal prints. Minis. Maxis. Pumps. Flats. The wedge.
Halter top. Midriff crop. Portrait collar. Tees.
Boyfriend jeans. Mommy jeans. Skinny jeans. Holes.
Wrap dress. Black dress. Sequin gown. Shift.
Uptown. Downtown. Boho. Grunge.
Sometimes, there really are too many choices in life. Decisions can be challenging to make: The restaurant menu that reads like a novel; bra selections --women need an appointment with a fitter; the right pants for your body – pear shape, boy shape, shapely; carwashes – regular, upgrade, premium, wax, rinse, no rinse: dating sites – Match, Don’t Match, Cupid, Phishing4Real, MisMatch, etc. As marketing, sales, and the push for profit drive retailers to seduce our purchasing power, the volume of choices can be overwhelming.
This is certainly true in the fashion industry.
For this reason, discovering and landing on your own personal style can be a colossal challenge. Some women know exactly who they are and what they want. Others are just frustrated. When it’s confusing, it’s also expensive. Blowing precious cash on clothes not worn produces added angst. Not fun.
Adorning ourselves should be fun. How can we make it a joy?
Our wardrobe should communicate who we are. How do we achieve that goal?
Our clothing choices should be appropriate for the day, the night, the venue. How?
Let’s break it down:
InStyle, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar are filled with great ideas for how to say what you mean. A drug store magazine purchase can cost $5 to $10 an issue, depending on the fashion mag. An annual subscription can save big money. Another option is to order catalogues from your favorite stores – Anthropologie, Eddie Bauer, or J Crew, just to name a few. Online guides can help define your true preferences. Online is free :-)
At work is where some women get in to some serious trouble. If you work for a bank, wearing your Hooter’s uniform can cost you a promotion. If you work for Hooter’s, sporting a suit will cost you big tips. Sometimes you just can’t win.
Pay attention to the standards at your place of work. Suits required? Jeans allowed? Professional, corporate standard rules, or laid-back casual? Often, women truly do not notice the standards of their office. When in doubt, ask a colleague or supervisor. It matters. It costs. Ultimately, dressing inappropriately can cost a promotion or stunt an ascending career. You may not need to wear a berka (?), but, generally, showing too much skin at work is a bad idea. Again, pay attention. A nun habit just doesn’t work at The Tilted Kilt, and the Katy Perry bra garners way too much attention at the 4Q sales review. Also, if you want to lose the respect of men and women at work, play the skin card. We all make choices. Choices have consequences. Gather data.
Date Night Dressing
This is easy. A lob. Fun night. A blend of comfortable and flirty is allowed. Enjoy yourself. This is the time and place to try trends, play with heel height, and slip into some painted-on jeans. One caution: If you do not want to draw the attention of sex addicts, perverts, and weirdo’s set healthy boundaries and limits on how far is too far in the flirt department. Remember, you’re flirting with him (or her), not the whole restaurant, bar, or venue. This is the time to be the modern, Audrey Hepburn version of Angelina Jolie, not the old, Billy Bob Thornton/blood vial-drinking Angelina Jolie. Your good taste actually protects you from uninvited harm. Your date or boyfriend will thank you.
Formal events can bring out the best or the beast in us. When did flashing cleavage become a wedding trend? Ministers have to focus way too hard on the text, the program, and the groom. Poor grooms got nothin’. The term P.C. does not stand for Public Cleavage. Or does it? A rule of thumb for weddings, a sacred ceremony for most, is to cover up. Fabric is your friend. If a bride intends to communicate, “Boobs for sale,” okay. Better may be, “Breasts . . . later unveiled.” In just a short while, you will be with your honey, behind closed doors. Again, it’s a choice. A bridal gown selection is usually not a swift buy. If you intend to show it, just know that others know it.
People Magazine recently reported that Kate Middleton was voted #1 fashion icon to watch. Why? She dresses spot-on per the occasion. Sure, sometimes she plays field hockey in kitten heels, but she’s flexible. Even in jeans with kitten heels, if you toss her a stick, she’s game. Her wedding dress was a little bit Kate Middleton and a lot Grace Kelly. Smart girl. This is a girl who effectively communicates WHO SHE IS via what WHAT SHE WEARS. Pure class, great taste. We can watch and learn. Kate avoids big trend swings. We don’t see her in Goth, space age neon, tube tops or leopard print leggings. Thanks, Kate.
In addition to our modern royal Kate, we can take some tips from the classic beauties who wore timeless attire – Jackie O, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn. Two icons who are still living and still splashing in the fashion industry include Diane von Furstenburg, the creator of the timeless wrap dress and Diane Keaton, the original Annie Hall actress who made wearing men’s clothing appealing, sexy, and timeless. A quick Google search for images can take you there. If you’re under 20, Pinterest.
Couture Quick List
If you’re not sure who you are, and how you want to express yourself with fashion, here are some categories to explore:
Low Maintenance Classic
High Maintenance Trendy
Coiffed, including the hair Wildly Elegant
Relaxed, including the hair Colorblock Classic
Dripping with Daddy’s money Western (like John Wayne)
Dripping with your own money Western (like Sundance)
Dripping with Sugar Daddy’s money Metrosexual (David Bowie)
Sporty Girl (you can toss her the keys or a fastball) Overtly Sexual (Katy Perry)
Indoorsy Girl (don’t throw anything at her) Whatever Sells (Madonna)
Corporate Christmas Party Date Conservative (Pastor’s wife)
Lulu Lemon Yogi Conservative (you are pastor)
Urban Street, Gangsta Lady Gaga (meat,fish,an egg)
Literary Chic (yes, this is a look J) Menswear (Annie Hall)
Cocktail Party Chic Menswear (Chas Bono)
Hot Mommy (yes, this is a look J) Menswear (you’re a guy)
Label conscious Scholar (eyewear is so hip)
Label could not care less Expensive (no knock-offs)
Slutty-and-I-know-it, clap your hands! Thrifty (as in thrift stores)
Slutty-and-I’m-clueless, is that true? Bold = “Look at me!”
Have fun. Enjoy discovering your true self. Get in alignment. Say what you mean to say with your fun fashionable self. Thankfully, you can change clothes!
Sporting the whole range of attire (except Gaga), Dr. Jane N. Geiger and the staff at Chattanooga Counseling are available to help you find and express your true self. Grace for you if your inner hottie is also a tired mommy. We will help you get in touch with your inner self to match your outer expression. If you’ve already bought that boob-boasting bridal gown, no worries. Grace for ALL at grace4thenoog.com -- seriously.
**originally published in BLUSH Magazine Couture Issue - September, 2014 - article by Dr. Jane N. Geiger