Category Archives: classic

How to wear the skinny belt

I have many clients who are stumped about how to incorporate belts into their look. Here are 4 great ways to incorporate the skinny belt into your ensembles (photos from instyle.com except where noted)

1)    Belted over a  cardigan –very common trend and a way to cinch a cropped cardigan without taking away from the clean lines. Victoria Beckham rocks this look with aplomb and looks tres sophisticated. The key is that the sweater is cropped and fitted and the belt the perfect accessory to finish off her look.

In the photo below Leighton Meister belts a vest over a ruffled print dress and looks amazing. She is polished, chic and trendy! Note to self, anything can be belted, jackets, cardigans or vests.

2)    Belted over a pencil skirt with top tucked in—I’m loving this look! The belt brings the whole outfit in proportion and adds focal interest. Like this ensemble from Ralph Lauren–simple yet very effective! www.ralphlauren.com

3)    Belted over a dress—a good trick is to replace belt attached to a dress with a belt of your own of higher quality/more pizzazz. Eva Mendes adds a white belt to her lavender olka dot dress and coordinates with matching white shoes and clutch for a very classic ladylike look.

I love how Camille Belle looks in this gorgeous blue dress which she smartly accessories with a ‘tough’ looking black leather belt. It works and it adds an edge to an otherwise feminine look. She nails it!

4)    Belted with jeans-to add extra flair and to keep them from riding down. Rachel Bilson looks effortlessly casual with a boyfriend jacket, white blouse, paired with a skinny jeans belted with a skinny belt!

Look for more ‘How To’s’ in upcoming posts!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

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Affordable winter clothing options for College Students

I got a question from a friend about what to buy for Winter for her college attending daughter who is in Iowa where Winters are cold and wet. Thought the questions were great for any Mom facing similar situations so will share her question and my response!

Question

Hi Natalie, I wanted to get a little advise from you about getting essentials for my daughter this fall/winter season. She has a few sweaters already, but needs to get boots and a couple coats and jackets. What do you recommend that she get that is practical but yet still stylish. I know that the girls like the tall boots, but I’ve been advised to get waterproof winter boots for her, especially for the cold, wet winters in Iowa. What about a couple cool outfits for hanging out, apart from the ones she’d use to go to classes in. I realize that winter clothing can be quite expensive too, so I’m looking for affordability.
I know you won’t steer me wrong!

The Image Diva Response

There are SO many boots to choose from this season!! Everything you can possibly want. She probably needs a waterproof pair but those come just under the knee too. They aren’t the cutest boots but they’re practical. Then you can get her a stylish option for when she’s more indoors–with a little heel and some jazz. For hanging out layering is great. Get her a few cardigans in varying lengths in fun colors to layer over fitted T’s or shirts. Banana Republic has some classic wrinkle free shirts in different colors–great for layering or stand alone. Pencil skirts are very in fashion–every girl should have one, and at her age, above the knee, maybe in corduroy. She can wear with black tights and her new cool boots.

For jackets, longer lengths are in style now like the classic blazer, but with the sleeves rolled and a more relaxed look overall. That would be great paired with jeans. Try Naturalizer for affordable boots and Banana Republic for good clothing at decent prices or New York and Company/  or Express. For more of a bargain you need to shop @ Marshalls or TJ Maxx. Burlington Coat Factory has great options for affordable coats in a variety of styles.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

The Cardigan! Fall Fashion Must Have #1

The classic cardigan has a slightly new look and is super popular since spring, Either slightly cropped,  tunic length or asymmetrical, this is not like the Chanel cardigan that was once the rage. What I love is the variety in color. Not just in neutrals you can now find cardigans in fuchsia, orange, gecko green and a myriad of hues. And the silhouettes are more figure flattering as opposed to boxy. Drape over a dress, wear over a tank and jeans, or belt over slacks. Either way, the cardigan is likely going to be your one go-to basic all season long and into fall. Here are a few of my favorite looks:

The Asymmetrical Cardigan

From urban minx

This has been a popular silhouette since last fall and I sense it will be hot again this coming season. Works with many figure types.

 The long vest

 

  Robert Rodriguz vest @ couturezappos

This tunic length cardi is an interesting silhouette. I would belt it with a widish belt or add long layered necklaces.

 

 The Short Fitted Cardi

Fitted cardigan from French Connections

A great look for ensemble dressing and definitely a popular style for fall. Wear open with a longer layer, layer over a dress, buttoned up over slacks or skirts, or belted with a thin belt with your favorite jean. A must have piece for your wardrobe.

 

The Belted Hoodie

Anthroplogie cardigan with hoodie

A funkier vibe–here with edgy details at the waist and a hoodie. Definitely to pair with jeans and boots.

 

 The Feminine Cardigan

Ruffled cardigan from Victoria’s Secret

 Ruffles create a softer effect and a little unexpectedness. Wear with sleeves ‘juged’ (pushed up).

 

Animal print

  Animal print cardi from urban outfitters

Share your wild side with an animal print cardi. Pair with solids so the focus is on the print, like the model in the photo. 3/4 length sleeve cardigans very fashionable now too.

 

Shawl Collar Wrap Cardigan

Wrap cardigan from Anthroplogie

Classic and Timeless. I love this look. Cozy yet stylish and definitely figure flattering (creates that hourglass effect). Because of the length, best on taller frames.

 

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Jennifer Anniston gets a sexy new look for Elle’s September cover

Ok folks I must admit it. I’m not a huge fan of Jennifer Aniston. Her acting is average at best. And honestly her roles are just different platforms for her to play ‘Rachel’. So never been too impressed with her movies which in truth, have not been the box office hits most will like them to be. And there’s her style. Its pretty basic–lots of black, jeans galore, a crisp white shirt, maybe a scarf nowadays, same hairstyle for years–straight blow out. Don’t get me wrong. It works. She always looks pulled together and effortlessly casual. And I can’t tell you how many of my clients consider her to be their fashion icon. But to me it’s just always been so predictable. Red Carpet–guess what Jen will be wearing? A simple classic black gown. Out and about and you’ll find her in a great fitting pair of jeans. Maybe a blazer, black of course. Predictable.

 

I like that Jen is down to earth, no frills and classic with her style, but I’ve always felt with her she was just playing it safe. I mean the same hair ALL the time? To me, it was just her ‘uniform’ and uniforms are boring.

 

So imagine my surprise to see a peek at her in the September cover of Elle, looking all…sultry and sexy. Yes, quite! Hair is curly and she instantly transforms into a sassier version of herself. Her makeup –a tad more than usual on the eyes (pretty!) and although she is rocking her signature black, its a leather BUSTIER! Wow! Jen has rarely flaunted her sexy /alluring side and she unquestionably has one of the best bods in the business.  On this cover and shoot she is flaunting it and I sure hope its the beginning of more surprises from her. Being close to 40 can bring that out in a woman–suddenly they realize ‘if not now when?’ and then they really start to rock it out. On the September Elle cover  I love her attitude and that mischievous twinkle in her eye. She is smokin’.

  

But that isn’t all! Check out these inside photos where she amps up the sexy quotient:

Yes we are seeing more of her breast than usual. Men the world over are going to swoon over this picture.

I want to high five her–for embracing her fabulousness and sexiness in a very tasteful way. You got it girl! Flaunt it.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Accent with Accessories: Five Tips

There is an art to accessorizing that is better felt than artificially studied. Many women take a ‘color by numbers’ approach to integrating accessories into their ensemble, and these are not the folks who entice you to take a second look. Rather, it is those who creatively, expressively and boldly take their necklaces, scarves, earrings, shoes, purses etc. to make a statement, to create a vibe, to work in harmony with their wardrobe for a polished, and perfectly executed look that inspires us and that we long to emulate.

Consider this ensemble Kate Hudson pulled together. She accessorizes her long white maxi  with big shoulder-grazing earrings, a pairing of  pendant necklaces carelessly but effectively worn together and a snakeskin bag. She uses accessories to punctuate her bohemian look and it works, head to toe, down to the casual sandals:

For some women, it is a boldly hued cashmere scarf knotted ever so carelessly but effectively around the neck. For others, it’s all about creating drama, using statement making pieces to command attention. Yet, for others still, accessories are a way to incorporate their cultural heritage into their personal style. Regardless, the point is that accessories should accent, enhance, take center stage or create interest.

Here are a few tips to help you punctuate your look with accessories:
1.    Try using an accessory to add color to an otherwise dull ensemble. This is why I love the current scarf trend-the simplest way to jazz up an outfit with a pop of color. This is a great technique especially when you have a great fitting top in a color that is less than flattering on you.

Molly Sims in this picture executes this point impeccably–that yellow scarf–it pops and adds the right color balance so she does not look like she is trying to be edgy.


2.    The watch—the quintessential classic accessory for women and men will always be in style and can be used practically and conservatively, fun and creatively or edgy and fashion forward. It can make a quiet impact or a loud one. I personally own several with varying degrees of formality.
3.    There is a good rule of thumb to remember if you err on the over-accessorizing side (like I do!). After you get dressed before you leave your house, take one accessory off. There are a few memorable occasions where I wished I heeded my own advice.

Beyonce is sometimes guility of this as this picture illustrates. So much going on–the hat, sparkly belt, signature big hoops, the crazy boots ANd the big bag? I would have given up the boots.


4.    Don’t be afraid to have fun with jewelry! Mix high and low, color with metal, vintage with new, costume or real. Look for interesting shapes or designs, gravitate to those pieces that pull you in—chances are you will rock it.
5.    You don’t have to spend a fortune but it is wise to invest in a few quality pieces. Splurge worthy? A strand of pearls, diamond drop earrings, a stunning bracelet, a cameo pendant.

Get 5 more tips with the next post!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

Accessories, look, style, jewelry, watch, scarves, how to accessorize

Sale @ DVF.com

Readers,

Check out the sale items at http://www.dvf.com (and of course you know that stands for Diane Von Furstenburg!). Like the Peyton Wrap Dress in Black:a classic black wrap dress with short sleeves in a clean and crisp poplin. Perfect silhouette to create that hour glass figure. And for those days when you don’t need to even think about what to wear. Just add accessories and go! On sale for $262.

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This is also cute. The Alondra dress in navy and white chevron print with hip pockets:

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D7513515j9?$thumb_x8$

 Now $297

 

Grab the designer steals when they’re on sale!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Who is your Fashion Inspiration?

Dear Readers,

Fashion icons are icons for a reason. They inspire and encourage us to dare to make our own signature statements after their cues. Often when I am working with a client in an image consulting session to uncover their personal style, one of the questions I ask is if they have a fashion icon or someone whose style they admire. The answer is typically very revealing and helps the client crystallize who she aspires to be image wise. It’s a great question to ask yourself as you think about and try to define your own personal style.

Your fashion icon does not have to be a celebrity but certainly they come to mind more readily for most women. Your icon can be any woman whose style you admire, and would love to make yours. But to get you started, here are some celebrities who possess a signature style that is so distinctive, that they are all icons in their own right:

 

  • Audrey Hepburn. The queen of classic elegance and chic sophistication. Still the gold standard
  • Josephine Baker. A Diva ahead of her time who took fashion risks and bucked the system to make her indelible mark in fashion
  • Jessica Alba. Easy breezy, comfortable and understated. She always looks great but never goes over the top and has an amazing figure but prefers cuts that are less revealing
  • Sarah Jessica Parker. Very fashion forward and trendy. Likes to mix things up. Very creative in her ensemble combinations and very ‘girly’
  • Rihanna. Fresh, edgy and very fashion forward. Takes bold risks with her look that always pay off. Dares to be different
  •  Angelina Jolie. When she is in Mommy mode she sticks to neutrals and very clean flowing lines. When dressing up, she is typically in primary colors, simple silhouettes (typically long gowns) and always elegant (post Billy Bob)
  • Cher. Expect the unexpected. Very dramatic. Wants to be noticed. Very extreme
  •  Julia Roberts. Very classic. A lot of black gowns. Easy silhouettes. She looks amazing but you know she’s still comfortable
  • Jennifer Anniston. Effortless casual style—jeans and T’s with perhaps a scarf as an accent. Little  accessorizing and makeup with hair that is always picture perfect
  • Queen Latifah. A lady who embraces her body with such confidence that you do not care (or notice) what size she is. Always dresses appropriately for the occasion whether in a gown or more laid back in sporty separates
  • Marilyn Monroe. Allure, and coquettish sex appeal? Who did it better. Newcomer Scarlett Johansson is a close second
  • Beyonce. Bling and glamour all in one package. Beyonce’s style also epitomizes the woman who is not afraid of her curves and loves showing them off
  • Michelle Obama. Our latest icon. Conservatively classic with a touch of panache. Embraces color and loves clean silhouettes like the sheath dress. Poised and elegant

I think you get the drift. Each of these women embodies a style that is uniquely her own. What is yours?

Copyright: Natalie Jobity, Élan Image Management, image consulting. Author: Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. Your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style

Recessionista Inaugural Gala Chic

Dear Readers,

Even in a recession we want to look fabulous. But on a budget! As women frantically finalize their ‘what to wear’ outfits for the inaugural festivities, I thought it would be a great time to give the last minute shopper a few ideas for a fabulous outfit  for less than the price of most inaugural tickets ($200-$500). I scoured the web  for evening dresses under $150 and surprisingly came up with a few winners—some even less than $100. Nordstrom’s online was a common spot for deals, so next time you’re looking for gala wear, definitely check it out. Disappointingly,  Bluefly.com the discount designer haven came up short (literally) with few gala worthy dresses in my price range but many mini dresses for less fancy affairs. 

Next I looked for necklaces and clutches under $50 (we must accessorize ladies!) and earrings under $25, with the intent of a complete outfit for about $250. Shoes I decided could be an area where you skimp—what lady does not own a pair of gala worthy shoes already in her closet? So assuming you’re already well-heeled for the occasion, I focused on the rest of your ensemble.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite under $150 dresses for galas and evening wear.

For the woman with more conservative tastes–Adrianna Papell gown @ Nordstrom

The same basic gown but spicier! Adrianna Papell gown @ Nordstrom

A great bias cut skirt gown with an interesting square neck and thick straps (so you can wear a bra) also available in Size 16 for fuller figured in  great color–JS Collections square neck @ Nordstrom

Love Labels? This designer gown won’t break your budget -ABS gown @ Bluefly.com

Want some drama? This chocolate brown sequined halter with train from Faviana might be all you need. Available @ edressme

So elegant–This is a lovely one shoulder, goddess inspired dress and perhaps my favorite. Comes in purple too but who can resist this teal blue? From Nordstrom’s

This simple strapless dress is figure flattering with the added ruching on the side. And in ed you’re sure to turn heads. Available @ Nordstrom’s.

Want to add a statement making necklace, earrings or clutch to these gowns  to complete your outfit? Check out my frugal picks below. (Points if you don’t need to buy new accessories).

Black and White choker style necklace @ Chicos

Antique faux gold necklace @ Arden B

Black fringe bag from Armani Exchange

Black tiered necklace @ White house/Black Market

A great silver tone necklace from Forever 21

Add some pop to basic black with this red sequined evening bag @ ebags.com

Pearls are always classic and chic. And this drop style gives it a twist. Available at White House/Black Market

 

With earrings like these who needs a necklace? These picks get two thumbs up for great style at steal prices (under $25!)

Laquered flower earrings @ Forever 21

Teardrop shaped carved earring in antique gold. Very cool and they look expensive @ Forever 21

Need I say more? I want these! Totally fab! Rhinestone drop earrings @  Arden B

 

Mix and match any of these selections with your chosen dress for a glamorous and stylish look for your inaugural ball. For shoes, black, silver, matte gold or pewter would match any of these dresses. Here’s looking at you, you chic and fabulous woman!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

 

 

Holiday How-To’s: The Office Party

Dear Readers,

Dressing for the office Christmas party can put anyone in angst. You want to look festive but you still have to play it safe. What’s  a girl to do? Follow these suggestions and attend your office affair with conffdence!

  • For office parties, you want to be more conservative than other events while still looking festive. Avoid provocative necklines and short skirt lengths. Separates are a good choice. For office events, I personally like this crisp white ruffle Lauren by Ralph Lauren top from Bloomingdale’s paired with a black bottom.  Sophisticated and feminine this look is very office party appropriate and very chic.

Available at Bloomingdales

  • Want to make a bold color statement? Pick a party dress in an unusual color like this bright blue number from Karen Miller. This sleeveless satin sheath dress is conservative enough (but not at all boring) for an office party. And it has enough zest (the color, the shimmer, the unusual neckline with bow accent) to make everyone know that you’re there to have fun.

  Available @ ASOS.com

  • The silk charmeuse top with a peep hole and neck tie  is also an excellent option for an office party when paired with a black pencil or A line skirt or tailored trousers. The empire waist and cap sleeves are very figure flattering and the aluminum grey color is very of the moment. This ensemble screams effortless style. And you can tie the bow so the peephole is hidden or shows a little ‘peek a boo’. Great for the casual office party.

  Available @ Victoria’s secret

  • If your office party is more dressy you might consider a dress like this black lace dress  that suggests a bit of the glamour of "Old Hollywood". It is feminine, dainty and romantic for the woman who wants to be sophisticated and festive with a dose of classic. Note how well the model is accessorized.

 Available at Barriepace.com

 

Next up, suggestions for the non-office party.

Copyright, The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

The New First Lady and her Red Dress

Dear Readers,

November 4th not only marked the historic election of Barack Obama, but also his wife Michelle Obama taking on the role of First Lady. Michelle exuded her typical sophistication in Chicago when her husband was named the 44th President of the United States. The new First Lady wore a red and black two-toned one-of-a kind Narciso Rodriguez sheath dress, for her husband’s acceptance speech Tuesday night topped with a black cropped cardigan for a more conservative look.

I’ve already written about Michelle’s refined sense of style and signature look on the campaign trail. See my post: elanimagemanagement.com/html/elan-blog/. But I have to admit I was not loving her designer dress on election night (right from Rodriguez’s Spring 2009 runway collection BTW).  I loved the matching color combination reflected in her daughters’ dresses and  I liked the IDEA of the dress — fashion forward, unconventional, bold and edgy. All good stuff! But as she walked on stage waving, it was confusing what was happening with her dress. Something just was not quite right and too much was going on. And it’s only after seeing all the pictures of that historic night that I realize it was the cardigan! It  didn’t work because it was a distraction to an already very boldly patterned dress. The way the edges of the cardigan blew in the wind ruined the clean silhouette of her sheath dress and threw off the dress’s proportion and line—a silhouette that she wears often and that works really well on her. Paired with the cardigan, Michelle’s figure looked thick waisted and boxy resulting in a less than flattering look.

Others have criticized the color of the dress, calling  the color combo ‘lava lamp’, “hell colored”, "paint blast" among other things.  Others still, just hated it period. For me it was the cardigan–it just was not working.  This is the dress without the cardigan on the runway (left). 

If Michelle came sans cardi she would have looked amazing. She rocks this sheath silhouette all the time. But perhaps the dress was just not a practical choice to begin with for a cold Chicago evening. It’s meant for Spring after all! She needed the cardigan to ward off the chill in the air So it was smart to cover up, it just didn’t translate well on TV on that vast dark stage and with all that wind! And honestly, all good stylists all know that vibrant red can be a tricky color to wear on camera.

 But we can forgive her this fashion faux pas because honestly, this is the first public one. And at the end of the day do we really care? Barack Obama will be our new President and she is the new leading lady.  She makes me so proud— commanding, elegant, classy and striking. As one blogger wrote: “She’s so damn confident, she could have worn a paper bag and still be amazing.” And I agree whole heartedly.

And watch out for the new fashionista on the make, her daughter Malia. Word has it that her red silk taffeta Biscotti dress (paired with matching cardi) has caught the attention of  many onlookers and that her dress has been selling out in stores. Sound familiar?

 

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management