Summer is here and retailers are taking advantage of our elevated moods with exciting summer sales events everywhere we turn. Giddy from the sun, it’s no wonder we shop like addicts on a cocaine binge this time of year! Unfortunately, those â€œgreat deals” may cost you more than you bargained for if you don’t know how to put any of it together when you get home. Here are some expert tips to keep your style as high as that sunny mood of yours.
An hourglass silhouette is considered â€œideal” because of its balanced look (the hip and bust measurement are similar and the waist is about 10 inches smaller.) Unfortunately, the majority of us didn’t receive the memo before we were born. Thankfully, you can create a balanced body shape through clothing. If your hips are wider than your bust, choose necklines that draw the eye upward and outward to broaden your shoulders, such as the â€˜Eyre’ V-neck Blouse by Edun. Dealing with a short torso? Create the illusion of balance by wearing tops with long vertical lines, such as this Sheer Sleeveless Jersey Top by Graham & Spencer.
Have a fit
You can be wearing Armani, Prada or Alexander McQueen…if the garment doesn’t fit, you don’t look your best. You may have purchased it for a fraction of its retail value, but the opportunity cost of not looking pulled together (and feeling your best) turns that â€œgreat deal” into a great waste of money and possibly lost opportunities of which you aren’t even aware. When it comes to checking for fit, a good rule of thumb is to fit the widest part of your body first and use a good tailor to adjust the rest. Just make sure the garment can be adjusted before removing the price tags and tossing the receipt. If it can’t be adjusted, return it.
Less is more
You know how they say, â€œYou can eat anything in moderation?” The same goes for your outfit! Create a balanced look by wearing prints, colors and styles that complement each other, not compete with each other for attention. For example, a full skirt requires a fitted top. Combine prints as long as one is bold and the other subtle (if you’re unsure, go monochromatic with the rest of your outfit.) If you show a lot of leg, show less on top and vice-versa. Too much of anything is never a good thing.
To trend or not to trend
I look ridiculous in skinny jeans. I can’t even find a workaround to get close to being able to wear them. I may not like it, but I accept it. A summer trend that works for most body shapes is the maxi-dress. These floor-length dresses hide most figure flaws and are lightweight enough to stay cool during hot summer days and nights. Fit is critical – too big and you may end up looking like you’re wearing a sack. Strappy sandals look best, and if you’re petite, wear shoes with height to elongate your body, since long dresses tend to make short people look even shorter.
How to wear a strapless dress when you’re large-chested
If you adore strapless dresses (as I do) like this coral strapless mini bubble dress by Y-yigal but find that your â€œgirls” just won’t cooperate (as mine don’t), wear a regular bra and layer a body-conscious camisole or tank under the dress. The key to pulling off this look is to wear a much-fitted cami or tank with a scoop neckline. I prefer the cotton camisoles at Gap Body, like this Braided Ribbed Cami (on sale for $6.99!) They’re lightweight, the straps are thin (keeping the delicate look of the dress intact), and the neckline sits perfectly above the top of the dress. I buy a size smaller than I normally wear and save them specifically for this purpose. The bra? Choose one in the same color as the dress or the cami, or wear a convertible bra with clear straps. Not only will you free up your time by not having to re-position the girls every five minutes, you’ll free up your hands for better things, like waving hello to that cute guy across the room.
How to wear capri pants
Don’t. Return them. They fall at the widest part of the calf and are not attractive on anyone. Instead, look for cropped pants that fall just below the knee (I love the Chambray Denim Crop Pant in Indigo by Walter) or ankle pants that fall below the widest part of your calf, such as the Marquis Ankle Pant by Hudson Jeans.
Lastly, keep everything in proportion with your stature, including the size of your accessories, prints, garment lengths and even the soles of your shoes. Following these tips will help you keep your image and confidence intact, which could result in new opportunities you never imagined.
Contributing Writer Bridget Smith is the Wardrobe Coach in Chicago.
A. Graham & Spencer Sheer Sleeveless Jersey Top nordstrom.com – $119
B. Edun ‘Eyre’ V-Neck Blouse nordstrom.com – $155
C. Y-Yigal Coral Strapless Mini Bubble Dress from bluefly.com, $199
D. Gap Body Braided Ribbed Cami gap.com – $16.50 (on sale now for $6.99)
E. Walter Chambray Denim Crop Pant in Indigo couturecandy.com – $143
F. Hudson Marquis Ankle Pant in Black couturecandy.com – $154