Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | January 5, 2009

Dressing Fundamentals

So it’s a new year and a time to reflect and plan.   Which means scheduling a talk with my investment advisor to talk about why I shouldn’t jump out the window at the astronomical dive that my retirement accounts have taken and why sticking to investment fundamentals will eventually pay off.  Which brings me to today’s Blog topic…sticking to style  fundamentals will pay off…almost immediately.

Follow these fundamental rules and your outfits will appear like you’ve a stylist on staff:

1.     Learn what works for you.  I love slinky skinny pants but I know full well that my physique is simply not suited for them, I’ll leave them to Kate Moss.
2.    Approach dressing as if clothes were meant to showcase you – I.E. this is when people say “the clothes were wearing the woman”…try to avoid this.
3.    Learn from the experts or the people who pay the experts.  With as much as we are deluged by fashion and media blasts, take advantage of all of this free information.  Investigate which celebrities have your body type and see how their stylists dress them.
4.    Wear clothes that fit you.  This means using a tailor.  Find one now if you don’t have one.  These people make your wardrobe work and last so that you get your full investment out of it.  A word about fit.  For some reason it’s become acceptable for skinny people to live in bags (or clothing that looks like it’s been issued by the makers of Glad trash bags) and for curvaceous people to wear overly tight clothing.  For those of you wearing your clothing too big, your friends are too nice to tell you that you look like Frodo and those of you with the muffin tops…the only muffins we should be seeing are those from Sprinkles.  Make sure that your clothes fit people!  Not only will you look better but you’ll be SO much more comfortable!
5.    Understand how fabrics work with your body.  Tightly woven fabrics such as denim are best for semi-fitted looks (until you add a little spandex – thank you whoever invented spandex).  High quality knits can serve to enhance your shape and knits that fit badly can serve to make you look like an umpa-lumpa.  So test out fabrics, see which ones work best for you.
6.    Proportion is your friend.  If you are 5’3 for instance, it won’t do for you to wear a long, long skirt, unless you want to look like an Amish grandmother, which is okay if you are or if perhaps you are trying out for a part in the remake of Witness.  But if you aren’t, well then we’ve a problem.  A short, fitted jacket on the other hand will create a sharp image for you.  Proportion applies to all of us, including you tall and leggy folk.  If your legs go on for miles it might be wise to avoid wearing a micro-mini during the day.  This proportion is best left to the traipsing down a fashion runway.  Unless of course you are intent on causing an accident or being asked “how much?”
7.    Patterns, embellishments and color can be your friend or your enemy.  If you’ve seen the glorious embellishments of recent years on jean pockets on rumps that simply do not need embellishment then I need say no more.  Or the trend that I saw a few months ago in Denmark for dropped jeans pockets, which of course unintentionally dropped the behind of every woman wearing these jeans.  No bueno.  On the other hand, if your rump is flat as a door, bring on the embellishment and an illusion of “baby got back” will appear…Not quite but certainly enough.
8.    Work with your strengths.  If you’ve a gorgeous collarbone, find ways to show it off, calves like Sophia Loren, break out the pencil skirts, calves like my last quarter horse jumper, break out the long boots and sport a skirt.
9.    Develop signature looks.   Think Coco Chanel, the woman who draped herself in long necklaces and yet made it a rule to remove at least one piece of jewelry before walking out the door to make sure it wasn’t “too much”.    Diana Vreeland was renowned for her brilliantly lacquered nails.  Always wearing a statement piece of jewelry, carrying chic vintage handbags, owing unique shoes, or wearing scarves and dark sunglasses (think Jackie O) will all serve to create an impression.
10.    Wear your clothes like you’ve just won the lottery or gotten the promotion you’ve always wanted.  A silhouette that is perfectly proportioned for your physique just looks silly if you don’t stand up straight and own it.

I leave you with these thoughts on style fundamentals and I wish everyone a year full of wonderful surprises, exciting opportunities, timeless style (and great silhouettes), good health and much prosperity.

Viviana M. Rueda
Vivendi Fashionista

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