Category Archives: appearance

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

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

Look Stylish and Feel Great as you Drop the Weight (Part 2)

We blogged about the challenge of dressing a changing body back in January  and gave you 4 concrete tips to help you look and feel great during weight loss. Weight loss is a time of change and any change is a little scary.  Modifying your wardrobe to adjust to your smaller frame is one more change many women find hard to grasp mentally and emotionally. Weight loss is so deeply tied to our self-image and that get’s so personal doesn’t it? These tips are meant to ease you into these changes with less frustration and angst. After all, you are in the midst of  achieving an important milestone that is all about you—getting to your ideal, healthy weight. So awesome for you!! Here are a few more tips to help you look as good on the outside as you are feeling on the inside!

1.    You may be used to ‘hiding’ your figure in big, bulky or baggy clothing. No more! Hiding actually makes you look bigger and definitely frumpy. Avoid boxy, baggy, loose, bulky clothing or anything that adds the appearance of unnecessary weight on you. This means thick fabrics, too many layers, and designs such as double-breasted jackets, flared baloony skirts, cargo pants with flap pockets where you don’t need them and elastic waistbands. We don’t want you to look like a boxy rectangle or an oval anymore. We want you to revel in your curves and flaunt them. Your new goal is to accentuate, enhance and highlight. Start looking at yourself objectively. What do you like about your new body? Find at least three things. Focus there. Look for details in clothing including vertical seaming, empire waists, ruching, pattern or print to highlight your best features and truly embrace them while camouflaging areas that still need work.

2.    If you have a tummy (or remnants of one), try slightly longer tops with some contouring or cinching near the waist. This is critically important so you avoid a square silhouette. A peplum style jacket in a soft fabric is your best friend; it can camouflage your tummy and is very figure flattering. Steer clear of elastic waist bands or front pleats which only make your tummy look bigger. Flat front pants with side or back zips are wonderful and have the added benefit of flattening out your tummy.

3.    Many plus size women feel they must wear black because it’s a slimming color, and typically restrict themselves to an all-black wardrobe. I want you to embrace color ladies. This is your time to shine! If you want to start with baby steps, know that any dark color is flattering and slimming, so consider, cranberry, grape,  forest green, magenta, navy, brown or plum, which all look fantastic if you choose the shade that best suits your skin tone. But don’t be shy to experiment with bright colors either. Hues like turquoise, yellow, orange, salmon, coral, fuchsia and kelly green have a fun, playful, free vibe. These shades can add spice and sass to your wardrobe and much needed variety. Bring it on.

4.    No one’s shape is right or wrong, good or bad – they are just different. As you get close to your ideal weight, learn to make friends with your body, and like any friend, love it for its positive features and be compassionate towards those that may still need work. If you are a good friend to your body it will return the favour in kind. Suddenly you’ll realize it wasn’t the enemy after all—that was just in your head. Your body loves you. Love it back. Get very clear on your figure type and how best to highlight your assets and minimize flaws. All women have to do this. Once you master the art of figure flattery, you will be unstoppable. Take my word for it.

Look for part 3 of this series next month!

 

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management. Image Consultant and Author of "Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It"

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What to Wear: The Conundrum of Petites, Plus and Tall Sizes

According to a New York Times online article by Stephanie Clifford last month, "As doctors and public health officials encourage Americans to slim down, the fashion industry is embracing Americans as they are. Both mass-market stores like Forever 21 and Target and expensive designers like Elie Tahari are deciding the fattening of America is a big business opportunity, and are reinvigorating a market that had faltered during the recession."

Well that’s all well and good but they have got a long way to go! The average American woman is a size 14. Most clothing designers cater to what they feel is aspirational and  trendsetting. It’s all about illusion and fantasy and not much about reality at all. Most designers don’t think about what will sell when they put pencil to sketch pad–they are thinking about a collection that will get them great PR and that will put on a great "show". The problem is that the buyers who attend fashion shows "buy into" these sterotypes and the result is a lot of unrealistic fashion trends popping up in stores every season that flatter only a minority of women.

Couple this issue with the fact that plus size clothing is very expensive to manufacture for a variety of reasons so retailers shy away from them completely. With Petites and Talls, even though they are viable markets, there is apparently not enough money in them to make designers and stores take note. Many department stores shut down their petite departments and stand alone stores that used to cater to petites including Petite Sophisticates are out of business. There was a Tall Girls store in Virginia nd that too shut down even though I know many tall women who shopped there. So what are we to do, those among us who are non-standard (and increasingly becoming the majority)?

In my work as an image consultant I see women of all shapes and sizes and I see my role an empowering them to embrace and learn to dress and flatter their size as it is NOW. We can all look great in your clothing if we learn the tricks of figure flattering. Yes their are hard to fit statures/sizes–plus, petites AND talls.  I’m 6’1" and a healthy size 6 and because I am in the business of image, fashion and wardrobe I know what looks great on me and how to wear mass market clothing that looks like it was designed for my super long frame (with the help of a tailor often).

But just like there are plus sized petites, there are plus sized talls and these are the most challenging to address because the plus size market offerings are so limited. It would be wonderful if designers catered to ALL frames but they don’t. And everyone assumes tall women have it easy but whether thin or plus or in between we have the same challenges as petite women finding clothing, often harder because you NEVER see ‘talls’ in department stores.

All sizes and statures can be beautiful –we just need more options period! I hope other designers start to cater more to the plus size market in particular and that stores like J Crew, J Jill, Victoria’s Secret , Talbots and Eddie Bauer etc. continue to serve all sectors of the woman’s market. 

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

‘Packaging’ your Personal Brand”: NAPW seminar for Women

Is your image conveying the message you want it to convey? Are you an entrepreneur or professional who needs to step up her look so her image speaks the words aligned with her company’s brand? Then, join me on Thursday June 17th at 4:30 for a great networking event.

The NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) Annapolis Chapter, is pleased to invite you to attend a 90-minute interactive workshop with Natalie Jobity, image consultant, an expert in the areas of image, personal branding, and dressing for success.

Our image or personal brand speaks volumes for who we are.  It sends signals about our intelligence, competence, confidence, level of success, and a host of other unscientific output, which may or may not be true.  For optimal impact, we must be sure to make focused and conscious choices about the messages our image ‘business card’ is transmitting.

Here are a few of the highlights of this workshop:

*   Learn the key elements of an effective personal brand
*   Get smart on why dressing with intention and purpose can be a pathway to success
*   Understand the impact of first impressions and how to ensure yours are positive and lasting
*   Explore ways to use your signature style and image to reinforce your businesses brand image

Join other women like yourself for this engaging and valuable seminar at the Naval Reserve Club in Annapolis MD. To register and for further details please RSVP HERE.
Hope you can join us!

 

Elan Image Management, Image Consulting

What to wear to the beach? Your knowledgeable Image Consultant weighs in on TV

There are so many styles of swimsuits to flatter various figure types, tastes, and personalities. This TV segment which aired on May 27th on DC’s  News Channel 8 ‘Let’s Talk Live, featuring Elan Image Management, highlights a few trends, suggestions for a flattering fit, and what your swimsuit style conveys about you. 

We showcase the Swankini! This is a swimwear line developed by Lois McCort out of Ohio that is all about figure flattery! The suits are two piece tankinis geared at the over 35 crowd who typically want more coverage around the middle and who also want the slimming effects of a suit. The suit fabrication is made with quality spandex, and there are features like ruching, tummy tuck panels, pintucking at the busts for augmentation and more all catering to help you to ‘get your swank on’! Check her line out at Swankini.com

We reveal the  Monokini– definitely for the confident woman who is not shy about flaunting her body’s assets. The hallmark of a monokini is that it is a one piece but it shows so much skin especially around the waist it is almost a bikini. Personally I think it can be sexier for many shapes than a bikini. If you want curves, curves, curves then this style is perfect for you. It is also a great style for more boyish shapes that want to create the illusion of more curves. Monokinis because they reveal so much skin and contour the body’s curves, convey a strong sense of allure. Perfect if you are in great shape and want to get lots of attention from the guys!

The clip also shows other swimwear options, including tankini options, bikinis and one pieces.

 

View the TV clip here

 

For more on swimsuit figure flattery advice and tips with great photos, read my posts last year on the topic: Swimsuits for all bods part 1 and part 2

A special thanks to the Let’s Talk Live team for letting me share with their viewers and Lois Mc Cort for her generous swimsuit donation of  a Swankini suit which I will be giving away to 1 lucky follower on my facebook fan page. Not a fan? Get all the latest updates, tips and trends on our Facebook business page. Stay tuned!

 

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

Recent survey reveals startling findings on women and their perceptions of self image

Times are really changing. Gone are the days when women view their biggest ‘looking their best’ day as their wedding day (for better or worse) but instead their first job interview. What? Yes!

A survey conducted in December 2009 by The Florida Department of Citrus released findings of the “Grapefruit Guide to Glamorous Moments Poll” recently, which reveals American women’s true confessions on their diet, weight loss, and beauty regimens.

Results show the extreme measures women will take to look their best at key events and the relative importance they place on weight, fitness, and conventional beauty. Topping the list?

  • Apparently, the value women place on looking good appears to be skin deep. Nearly four in ten women would choose wrinkle-free skin over the gift of a new car.
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) of women who try to lose weight for a glamorous occasion admit that they have followed a fad diet in an effort to generate quick results   rather than a long-term healthy eating plan.
  • Nearly seven out of ten (67 percent) women have avoided being photographed at special events because they felt unhappy with their appearance.
  • If given the choice, 81 percent of women would rather lose two dress sizes than meet a celebrity they admire, and a shocking 44 percent of women would rather lose $5,000 of their income than gain 20 pounds (what recession?).

 

A full list of results can be viewed on our multimedia site: Florida Grapefruit

Also on the site are healthy eating and lifestyle tips from our new partner, celebrity nutritionist Carrie Latt Wiatt, who currently works with Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas.

So what do these statistics tell us? That we need to start taking better care of ourselves from the inside out and stop looking for quick fixes. More importantly, if we really want that flawless complexion and that toned body for our ‘red carpet’ like moments we have to work consistently at it. Proper eating habits, exercise and healthy beauty regimens are the way to achieve our outward image goals and to feel great about our appearance regardless of the event.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

 

Color me Beautiful! Tips to finding your best wardrobe colors.

Contrary to myth, everyone can wear virtually every color– it’s the correct hue, tone, tint or shade of that color that will make the difference between looking amazing or awful. Here are some suggestions to help you discover how to use color to your advantage, from your helpful image consultant.

  •  Your image and presentation gives people cues on how they should interact with you. How do you want to be perceived? When the colors you wear work for you, you feel energized, look radiant and ‘pop’ in your clothing. Colors that work against you are those that wash you out, make YOU disappear or that overwhelm your natural coloring. Often in an image consultation session, when I do color analysis on a client there are a few color drapes that I remove very quickly because I see how the color ‘drags her down’. I literally cannot bear to see the color’s negative effect on her. Color is that powerful.  It illicits an immediate emotional, mental or physical reaction which can be positive or negative. You want people to respond favorably towards you based on the colors you chose to wear.
  • The colors you wear from the waist up are the ones that matter. They are the ones that enhance or detract from your facial skintone, eyes and hair, which results in you looking more attractive or not. You want the colors you wear closest to your head/neckline to draw the eye of the onlooker up to your face. Colors that are too strong or too contrasting for your skin/hair/eyes are going to draw the eyes away from your face and to the stronger colors instead. You don’t want the colors you wear to ‘wear’ you. You must always command attention not the color you are wearing. Make sense?
  • Color is more than just looking great; it’s about feeling great as well. Certain colors are invigorating and refreshing and lift our mood when we wear them. Others may pull our mood down and make us look dour. This is entirely dependent upon the wearer. For me, warm brights enliven me—such as pea green, coral red, banana yellow or red-orange. Earthtones make me feel, well,  more earthy and grounded. These are the warm browns, olive greens, rust, burnt sienna etc.  Whereas drab or overly ‘cool’ colors really put a damper on my spirits. I am never really receptive to blues unless it’s a turquoise or teal blue (‘warmer’ blues). And pastels not only wash me out but make me feel washed up! Not having it! Everyone will have their own preferences. Understand how you feel when you wear or are surrounded by certain colors,
  • Colors have their own energies.  Yellow is innately a happy, vivacious color. Blue is more calming. Green is balancing and restorative. Red is commanding, confident and passionate.  Purple is seductive and regal. Orange is adventurous and magnetic. Understand each color’s energy and wear strategically to achieve the goals you want. I recently advised a client to wear a red jacket to her annual performance review because she had a challenge with conveying assertiveness and confidence. She took my advice (and then some!) and had an amazing review. She felt the difference is wearing her ‘power’ red in a jacket and thus acted accordingly.
  • Many people think they can’t wear red and this is such a mistake! Red is such a powerful color, both authoritative and alluring at the same time. Red lipstick, red dresses, red shoes, red ties—there is a reason why red is chosen by those who want to project command. It is an irresistible color and you do yourself an injustice if you skip this color in your wardrobe. Plus it is a little known fact that red can work with ANY neutral in your closet! Just be careful to find the hue that is enhancing on you.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting