The Style Conundrum: Looking Casual yet Polished

Many women struggle with looking pulled together in casual settings. They end up under-dressing because they’re worried about over dressing. So how do you present a polished and pulled together image while in a casual setting? Here’s the short answer: You can still be “dressed” without being “dressed up”. 

If you’re a business woman  and you’re attending a BBQ where you know you’ll meet other business professionals, how do you show up? Do you dress with the baggy T, shorts and flip flops which, while appropriate for the occasion, may not send that “dressed” signal to those you may want to impress? Or do you show up in a top that flatters you, a pair of well-fitting linen slacks or a cotton skirt, with a cute pair of sandals? Both are appropriate for the occasion, both are comfortable. But the latter is infinitely more effective in case you do bump into that person you’ve been dying to meet and for 5 minutes you happen to be talking business.

I don’t know about you but my policy is to be safe than sorry. More than that, my motto is really this:  NOT looking “polished” is never an option. Never an option. Why look “less than” my amazing potential, regardless of the context or situation or environment? I challenge you to ask yourself, why should you?

Be fabulous, regardless of the occasion!

Natalie Jobity, image consultant, President, Elan Image Management. Author: Frumpy to Fabulous Flaunting It. Your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style

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My Fav Swimsuits for Top Heavy Women: Elan’s Picks

Without much ado, here are my top 5 swimsuits for top heavy women

Bikinis

Women with large breasts really need proper support. Bikinis are fine once the top has the proper underwire support to keep the bust lifted. This full coverage bikini from Victoria Secret is a winner.


 

Asymmetrical one piece
If you are a busty woman with broader shoulders than your hips, you’re going to want a swimsuit  that visually narrows your top half so it balances out your lower half. This one shoulder is excellent because the asymmetrical shoulder is very supportive, the ruching at the waist is very figure enhancing and the print is very alluring. Go for it! Available at Victoria’s Secret.


 

Deep plunge one piece
With one pieces, you absolutely want to look at a deep V neck or wide U scoop necklines which enhance your bust. To avoid? Little itsy bitsy tops or stringy halters that look at odds with your proportion and provide zero support. Also any top that adds bulk to your breasts. This bathing suit, from Miracle Suit  hits all the right marks. Figure flattering to your décolletage, side ruching to enhance your waist and great support at the bustline. Available @ Bloomingdales.
 

Halter swimdress
This halter swimdress is great for a top heavy woman with wide shoulders and narrow hips. The halter top provides support for the girls while the ruffle skirt adds balance to your wider top. Plus it’s so darn cute!  Plus if you have a hint of a tummy all the ruching in the middle will cinch you in comfortably. Suit from Juicy Couture @ Bloomingdales.


 

Convertible tankini
I love this tankini for a top heavy woman with broad shoulders. The suits neckline highlights the shoulders  while the neck wrap tempers them at the same time. The top can also be wrapped in multiple ways depending on your style preferences.  It’s a two piece tankini so you have complete coverage with the flexibility of a two piece. And the print is a great camoflager (if needed).  Available @ Shape FX.


 

 

For more figure flattery tips, I highly recommend picking up a copy of my bestselling book: Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style. Full of tips, advice and motivation to look great regardless of your size and empowering you to Flaunt It.

Natalie Jobity, professional image consultant, AKA The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Visit my Facebook Community page for ongoing tips and expert advise!

 

Our Top 5 swimsuits for pear/triangle shaped women: Elan’s picks

Summer is here and many women angst about not being toned enough, thin enough, tanned enough or tight enough to bare their bods at the beach. I’m here to tell you, get over yourself. The average woman is a size 10/12 and has some complaint or other about her body so you’re in good company.

Here’s the real secret. If you know what type of swimsuit best flatters your curves, you will look better, feel more confident and actually look sexier (if you dare!) at the beach or pool this season.

There are options aplenty for all shapes, sizes and level of modesty. For those of you who are bottom heavy, here are my 5 favorite silhouettes and styles to maximize your figure this season.

Skirted Tankini

For women who have a pear (triangle) shape, minimizing the hips and often rear is the challenge. An easy strategy is to use color blocking—wear a darker color on your bottom and a brighter/lighter or printed pattern on top. This tactic minimizes where you are wider and draws attention to your smaller torso. Another alternative, is the skirted suit or tankini in a straight to slight a line silhouette (not flared!).
This suit from Victoria’s Secret is perfect as it achieves both these goals. (Twist tankini with skirted bottom)


 

Ruched one piece with retro vibe
For triangle shaped women with a tummy skip the bikini! Too often I see ladies with their little paunches all hanging out and honestly they can do so much better. For you, I highly recommend the minimizing one piece. A one piece with ruching at the waist/tummy is an excellent choice for you.

I love this Carmen Marc Valvo retro suit from Victoria’s Secret, which is ruched all over for maximum support and figure flattery. Love it! What is also great is that you can pull the skirted part up or down depending on your coverage needs to minimize your thighs (or not). And this color: hot and haute!

 

Bikini with skirted bottom

A high waist retro styled bikini bottom with high spandex content can work wonders for the mid section and hips. The idea here is to find a high percentage of spandex to tuck in bulges. This “control” bikini from shape fx is great for your figure because of the bottom but also because of the style of the bikini top. The wide set straps makes your shoulders appear wider so your hips are more in balance. And if you don’t have a tummy you can Flaunt your curves in this number with confidence.

 

 

Plunge front printed one piece
Another great way for women with pear shaped figures to play to their strengths is to choose a patterned one piece with deep plunge so the emphasis is on your body’s top half.  This floral one piece from Victoria’s Secret is perfect especially for triangles with small busts. The deep plunge and tie shoulders put emphasis at your bust and away from your hips, thighs and rear. And patterns are great camouflagers. Even better, this suit also comes with side ruching to whittle in the waist.

 

 

Swim dress
If you look great in white this is a great color choice for your swimsuit. An all white bathing suit can be just as slimming and elongating as a black one if it is designed with your figure in mind. This Juicy Couture suit from Bloomingdales is. Again, the wide set spaghetti straps help balance out your hips, the shirring all over the suit minimizes and controls your ‘softer’ areas, and the skirted bottom helps slim your thighs.

 

But wait there’s more! Check out these past posts on swimwear.

Next up, the best swimsuits for inverted triangle figures.

 

Natalie Jobity, professional image consultant, AKA The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

I highly recommend picking up a copy of my book: Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style. Full of tips, advice and motivation to look great regardless of your size and empowering you to Flaunt It. The secret? Confidence (and a few handy insider secrets that I share).

Visit my Facebook Community page for ongoing tips, giveaways, and links to even more great stuff!

 

The Truth about Style Transformations

I want to talk to you for a moment about the transformation that results when a woman takes the time to refine, revamp or revitalize her image.

For some women, it just takes one style consultation session with me at the right time, when they are primed and ready to take action to achieve quick and life changing results.  This group is a lucky minority! For some women, transformation is slower, more paced, more trial and error, but successful nonetheless in the long run. I would say this is true for a third of my clients.

Still other women need multiple ‘sessions’ to make it ‘click’, for all the pieces to come together before they start to see the results they seek. This is probably true for the majority of women. For the rest it is a lifelong refinement, a continual tweaking, an ongoing quest and desire to shine as brightly as possible. I have a special passion for the ladies who recognize the value in investing in themselves this way and continually seek to up their style game.  Some of the most fabulous women I know fall into this category!

The point is the journey is unique and individual to each woman, pretty much like in life. I was a ‘late bloomer’ in most facets that give meaning to that phrase. I survived a very gawky teenage phase, endured a very self-conscious 20’s, and really only started to realize my brilliance physically and in totality much later in my life. Our journeys to self -acceptance and embracement are as unique as we all are and I wanted to take time to acknowledge and celebrate THAT!

Regardless of where you on your own journey, be present, be authentic and really go for it. Reach for the stars and push yourself to be as brilliant as you can. If we collectively take that approach, think of all the twinkling, shining, magnificence that we’ll manifest. Awesome!

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, image consulting

Yokini Swimwear: Sexy & Flattering Swimsuits for many figure types

Finding figure flattering swimwear is as much an art as it is a science. To rule out some of the mystery in finding the perfect swimsuit for you I am dedicating a series of blog posts to do just that! This is always a popular topic this time of year and I want to make your search as effortless as possible. For each of the main figure types I want to highlight my top 5 recommendations to best enhance that figure so you feel confident, sexy and comfortable wherever your summer jaunts may take you.

Check out the following links for past posts on bathing suits:

But I have a surprise. This first post will be dedicated to a relatively new line of swimwear that I believe can flatter almost every figure and swimwear occasion. Why? It all boils down to the proprietary fabrication and design of the swimsuit bottom. I present to you ladies, Yokini swimwear convertible bikini bottom!

 

The vision behind Yokini Swimwear came from the idea that a more mature woman  can still wear a sexy two piece swimsuit with confidence and style. The unique Yokini bottom enables a woman to adjust the fabric to fit her lower body like a glove. Any problem areas in the hips or tummy instantly disappear when multi- layers of control stretch fabric are concentrated directly on the area.

Sound too good to be true? It isn’t. I had the pleasure of sampling the line myself and I love it! I now have a bikini with a convertible bottom that I can wear so many ways depending on my mood or the occasion—all the way up so it looks like a one piece, at the waist for a retro look, as a banded bottom so it looks like your regular bikini and (really cool!) like a skirt so it also acts as an instant cover up.

Check out this HOW TO WEAR VIDEO

Regardless of how you choose to wear it, it is extremely figure flattering and comfortable because the fabric is breathable and very stretchy. If you are bottom heavy you can wear it as a skirted bikini to minimize your hips and thighs. If you have a tummy, you can wear it retro style and swim with confidence. If you are curvy, you can wear it as a low rise banded bikini for maximum sex appeal. If you have a more boyish shape, you can wear it like a sexy one piece or sportier style.

Convertible swimwear is not new. But what is new here is that the bottom really can be molded various ways on your body for a completely different look. And the idea that this can go dramatically from a one piece look to a skirted one is very innovative.

Inspired by yoga wear, the Yokini bikini is designed so every woman can start feeling sexy, confident and stylish in a bathing suit. Flaunt It on the beach, the pool or on the volley ball court!

Next up: The 5 most figure flattering designs for bottom heavy women.

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, image consultant. Author: Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. Your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style

Visit my Facebook Community page for ongoing tips, inspiration, lively discussions on what to wear and more!

 

 

Even models have ‘frumpy’ days

We revere models. We want to look like them. We think they have close to perfect bodies. Perhaps? Well I’m here to say hogwash! Find me a model who isn’t dependent on her stylist to look pulled together, and I’ll  show you a woman who struggles to get her look down pact like everyone else. What we often forget when we drool at glamor shots in magazines or watch celebs on the red carpet or being interviewed on TV is that 9 times out of 10, that woman (or man) has had a lot of help and time to look fabulous. There are glam squads behind the scenes, makeup, hair, wardrobe stylists, you name it, to ensure that person looks polished from head to toe.

Want proof? I want to use this post to share photos of two models who are having off days (in my esteemed opinion). Clearly the wardrobe stylist or image consultant had the day off. The first is the usually fab Selita Ebanks at a recent Prada event. Two words: School Marm! I mean really, this looks out of date, out of proportion and simply not well executed. Yes her makeup is pretty, but not loving the hair. Yes there is a necklace but the top washes her out and is so baggy and then  paired with the overly long ‘granny’ skirt, that it ages her by 10 years at least. And sorry, not digging the shoes either which could easily pass for running shoes. Thumbs down on this ensemble!

A better interpretation of this look keeping skirt intact? A more fitted, body contouring top in a color that pops with her skin (let’s say bubble gum pink). Then a belt at the waist to give further definition. I would change the necklace to one that had an edgier vibe. Finish off with nude tone strappy heels so there is no mistaking that she is young hip and gorgeous. Can you picture the difference?

I present next, popular model Christy Turlington. That boxy black jacket with a white lace summer dress? Really? This simply does not work-the black overpowers her face and is just too heavy for the white lace. Her hair pulled back with minimal makeup does nothing to hide the starkness of the jacket. I feel like I want to see a necklace to break up the drab. And again the shoes–ick! This looks like she was trying to be comfortable yet stylish but so did not pull it off.

What would have made this look work? Lose the black heavy jacket and instead opt for a cute cropped number in blush or even light denim. Hair needs to be down so the look says feminine casual. Drop earring and an elegant necklace would be great compliments. No black bangle but instead maybe a collection of skinny silver ones stacked together for a relaxed vibe. And the shoes? A wedge sandal in nude (still comfortable) or a cute ballet flat with a bow or other accent. Better!

 

I am being overly harsh in my critique of these models, yes. It is just to make you, average woman reading this post feel emboldened to know that ‘perfection’ is just an illusion. And even those we hold on pedestals can fall from grace quickly…without the help of their glam squad

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, image consulting. Author: Frumpy to Fabulous, Flaunting It

Oprah’s Finale Dress: On brand and On Point

Oprah has evolved into a style icon in her own right. She has found the perfect hairstyles and makeup to complement her features but more significantly understands how to dress to flatter her killer curves. If she has taught viewers anything about style is how to be comfortable in your own skin and look fabulous whether you’re an 8 (her smallest size) or a 16+. What I have always loved about Oprah is how she showcases her feminine sensibilities in understated ways and embraces color in its full glory. Who can rock yellow and hot orange better than Ms O? She wears every color under the sun and looks amazing.

For her show’s final episode, her complete look was a slam dunk. The well coiffed hair flipped up at the ends, the makeup to perfection (subtle smoky eye), her nude heels and THE dress. It was the perfect choice in my opinion. She chose a soft pink, silk dress from designer L’Wren Scott that was custom designed for her. Every detail from the chiffon belt off to the side, the wide scoop neckline, three quarter length sleeves, nipped in waist and just to the knee length, worked to enhance Oprah’s curvy figure. The fit–sublime. The effect–stunning!

The color choice was perfect. Pink as a color conveys softness, femininity, approachability, and warmth.  This was perfectly aligned with her core message in her final show-a show dedicated to her fans. She thanked them for their lessons and for letting her share in their journey’s but she also uplifted and inspired by using her own journey as an example. "There are no coincidences" she underscored. She shared that the past 25 years have been a divinely inspired master plan (led by God) that allowed her to use her stage as her platform.  She wanted her fans to takeaway simple  truths and the things she knows for sure from 25 years helping people live their best lives. Her look, her message, her persona were all aligned. I listened to every word.

 

Oprah, you are loved and your show will be missed.

 

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, image consulting

Show your body some TLC: 4 Self-Care Tips

Today I finally indulged myself with a 75 minute massage from my favorite spa. As I was being massaged I felt my body breathe a collective, ‘ahhh!’ and I couldn’t help but think to myself, why don’t  I do this more often? The truth is, as women we are guilty of not refueling our ‘vitality’ tank as often as we should. I struggle with this myself. We put our well-being, health and self-care last and suffer the consequences.

This month, I officially became an elite member of my spa to give me no excuse not to enjoy the amazing perks and benefits that affords me. During my massage I remember thinking, ‘I’m giving my body love’. When you think of it this way, it really makes you want to resolve to do better. Unless we refuel ourselves we can’t give back to our loved ones, far less look and feel our best.

Your image is the entire package—the inner in harmony with the outer. To help you find ways to give some TLC back to your body, practice these four EASY tips on a regular basis. Like my body did today, it will thank you for it.


1.    Stay in touch with your essence.
Some clues? What helps you exude your essence in its infinite glory? Just as roses need sunlight and water to fully bloom, what brings out your brightest, finest most brilliant bloom? For me it’s spending time outdoors, near the water and connecting with nature. I just had a beach vacation to the Dominican Republic and my only complaint is that I was not there long enough. The ocean air, the sound of waves, the sand on my feet, the cool briskness of the water, the glimpse of fish in the shallow reef, the feel of the sun—all of these things make my spirit soar. Find out what it is for you and do it as often as you can.

 

Me getting in touch with my essence earlier this month in DR


2.    Act upon your secret indulgence.
There is a reason why chocolates are a popular gift on Valentine’s Day—a day celebrating love! Chocolates are one of the most indulgent, easily accessible, and inexpensive treats we can enjoy. So often women deny themselves simple pleasures as this. The senses are meant to be stimulated and in so doing bring us pleasure. It’s summer—a great excuse to get that pedicure you keep putting off. When last have you basked in the brilliance of the sun (with your SPF protection of course!)? Splurged on your favorite bottle of perfume? Bought yourself a bouquet of flowers? The gifts of indulgence our loved ones give to us are gifts we can give to ourselves.

 


3.    Sashay your way to fitness.
From Zumba to pole dancing there are so many fun and creative ways to get the body moving while having a ball. This can be dedicated ‘me-time’ where you step outside your comfort zone and learn something new that is good for your body. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore when you can dance, jump and sashay the pounds away.

 

4.    Practice better self-care. Promise to dedicate time and effort over the next 6 months to pamper and take care of your best asset—YOU! Whether it is getting fit, losing weight, hitting the gym, eating healthier, getting your required ZZ’s every night, spending quality time with loved ones or just taking time to pamper and reward yourself throughout the year, make sure you offer the gift of love back to yourself. Because you cannot give what you don’t have! Make sure you replenish your love reserves.

You have a self care tip you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it!  Feel free to post on my Facebook Like Page!

 

Natalie Jobity, The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

What to Wear? Comfortable yet Stylish Shoes for Work

As an image consultant and personal shopper one of the questions I get asked most often is where to find comfortable yet stylish shoes for work. It amazes me that many women will forgo wearing skirts and dresses because they do not have the right type of shoes that give them the comfort they desire yet not  frumpy. My answer is typically that options now are so much more plentiful than they used to be. Designers like Naturalizer, Aerosoles and Cole Haan have made comfort a priority in their shoe designs.

Naturalizer has a whole line–the N5 comfort series designed for women with these challenges in mind. There are also brands like Sofft shoes, Born, Dansko and Munro Italian that can be found in major department stores that offer designs that are a more fashion forward than your grandmother used to wear, while still keeping the ‘comfort first’ mentality in tact.

I typically advise women to look for a shoe with at least an inch and half heel to wear with skirts and dresses because a slight heel will be more flattering than no heel at all (in other words ballet flats really can’t be worn with a sheath dress!). Also examine the type of heel. A kitten heel with a narrow base on the bottom is infinitely harder to walk in than a block or wedge heel. Some platforms can also be forgiving in the comfort department.

So you don’t just have to take my word for it, here are a few stylish options for work that keep your foot comfort in mind (all available at Nordstrom).

Anyi Lu Dainty pump

Sofft Napoli III

 

Cole Haan Lainey pump

 

Munroe Odetta pump

Anyi Lu Soul pump

Naturalizer Verstood Mary Jane

Paul Green Faith pump

Trotters Jaden sling back

ECCO Coventry pump

Softspots Sherise pump

Colre Haan slingback

Natalie Jobity, image consultant, Elan Image Management

 

 

 

Elan Image Management, in Cinematique! Film Inspired Fashion sponsored by The Art Institute of Washington

I was delighted to participate in the Cinematique (film inspired fashion) gallery exhibit, presented by the Art Institute of Washington, created to help celebrate female film fashion icons by creating a contemporary look inspired by one of their iconic style scene stealers.  Stylists chose classic film icons like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady to more recent stars like Angelina Jolie in Salt, providing a diverse and eclectic perspective of fashion in film.

All exhibits were displayed on dress forms with associated accessories and props with posters and profiles of the film and leading lady and a bio of the stylist/designer’s inspiration  prominently displayed on each wall. The presentation is superb and views like any museum class exhibit. I only wished there was more space to feature even more designs.

Natalie Portman/ Black Swan

As the most experienced professional stylist participating in the exhibit I created two looks:  The first from perhaps one of the most leading film fashion icons of all time, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey as  Holly is the epitome of classic elegance. I played with the idea of using the many black dresses she wears in the film as my muse. But instead of an LBD I wanted to do two pieces, a skirt and a top that gives the illusion of one piece. I also wanted to make it more dramatic while still keeping it sophisticated by playing with the idea of varying textures.

Audrey Hepburn/ Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management

The top here is intricate, with a ribbed texture and a peplum like silhouette that upps the glam factor. The skirt is a pencil skirt with a fluted back and  I styled the outfit with the skirt worn reversed so there was more drama in the front . Again there is the play on texture, this time with an African lace fabric. The skirt is a collaborative creation by L~Shandi (a local designer who uses African lace as her signature) and I and the reversible skirt idea was birthed from dressing ‘Holly’ for this exhibit. This ensemble is a more modern silhouette that still pays homage to Holly’s style, while making her more obviously alluring. The texture adds creativity and drama to the look, in keeping with Holly’s character. The texture also reinterprets the pairing of black on black, but the look is still sleek and upscale. Accessories add panache and also remind us how much Holly loved her pearls.

One of my favorite exhibits was Foxy Brown in the movie by the same name. This outfit was styled by a faculty member and it is simply fabulous. Mod print in an empire waisted floor length jump suit is SO now and reflects perfectly the sensibilities of the Diva that was Foxy Brown. We all wanted to grab that jumpsuit off the mannequin!

Foxy Brown/Foxy Brown

Another stylist created a very girly/edgy version of Uma Thurma in Kill Bill. She chose to take creative license and styled a ballerina inspired dress (Tulle and all) with a belt with a real sword in a holster. So the ultimate in femme fatale—dangerously girly and completely unexpected. Dressed to kill is an understatement!

Uma Thurma/ Kill Bill

 

My second exhibit is inspired by one of my favorite movies of all time, The Sound  of Music with Julie Andrews as Maria. My inspiration for my ensemble is the heartwarming scene where Maria and the kids are out and about and she is teaching them to sing ‘Doe Ray Me’. She is shown wearing jumpers and full skirts of varying lengths in many of the outfits from this scene, and she is appropriately casual yet still so ladylike.

Julie Andrews / Sound of Music as styled by Elan Image Management

I wanted to update Maria and dress her in a casual, fun ensemble with the same sensibilities. My foundation garment is a pretty, polka dot, brown and white skirt with embroidery and eyelets at the hemline.  I paired the skirt with a fitted brown cotton/Lycra top and a white blouse, so the outfit had the feel of a jumper without being one. The blouse plays to the romantic sensibilities while the sleek top gives off a slightly alluring vibe—just enough, because after all, she is a former nun.  The straw hat and bag are well appointed to give her a polished, yet still effortlessly casual look. This is Maria, but a modern Maria, dancing and singing in the park with the kids, all girlish and coquettish…in 2011.

Natalie Jobity’s wall in Cinematique

The Cinematique gallery exhibit, presented by the Art Institute of Washington and organized by Tanisa Sharif, held its opening reception on Thursday April 21st showcasing the styling and design work of professionals, up and comers, faculty and students .  The small but very impressive exhibit will run through May 28th at Gallery 1820 at The Art Institute of Washington and is a must see for fashion and film lovers alike.

Natalie Jobity in front of Cinematique entrance

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, professional image consultant