Category Archives: trends

Dress to impress: 5 tips to dressing like a winner

We’ve all heard the phrase “dress to impress” but when you get to the nitty gritty what does it really mean? Dressing to impress is more than just the clothes you wear. It is your total image presentation, including your clothing, how you accessorize, how groomed you are, your poise and posture, non verbal cues, and more. Because research has proven that people make first impression judgments about us primarily based on how we look, the “dressing” part of dressing for success is very critical.

Dress like a winner and you’ll find that the way the rest of the world interacts with you will change for the better. So how does a winner dress? Here are five tips.


  1. 1. They own their signature style. Your style is an integral part of who you are—it is your personal stamp. A woman of style has a particular way they carry themselves–it stems from confidence but its more than just that. It’s perhaps the ultimate physical manifestation of their self expression.
  2. 2. They understand the benefits of investing in high quality clothing. High quality is not mean the same thing as “expensive” or designer brands. You can find quality clothing at many price points. But the common denominator is that the clothing is manufactured well, holds up to multiple washings and wears well over time. Moreover it fits well because it is made with better fabrication and attention to detail.
  3. 3. They ensure their clothing fits them impeccably whether they are wearing a suit or a sheath dress. Have your clothing altered by professionals as needed or pay attention to the designers and brands that work well for your figure and proportions. When your clothing fits you well you feel better in it and are able to exude mire confidence.
  4. 4. They pay attention to the accent pieces that impact their image and make them a stand out. Accent pieces are like the bow around the wrapping of a present—it makes the gift look more pleasing to the eye, more polished. It is the same with your ensembles. Accents your shoes, handbag, jewelry and scarves punctuate your look and takes your image up several notches.
  5. 5. They look fabulous regardless of the occasion and know that the way they dress speaks loudly about the type of woman they are. They choose classic or timeless designs. They don’t follow fashion trends but instead invest in clothing uniquely appointed to reinforce their style, lifestyle and preferences. In many cases they are the type of women we all look up to and admire.

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, an image consulting firm


Shoe challenges: Finding the Perfect Fit

There is something incredibly alluring about a woman wearing heels.  And with 5 " heels all the rage, women are stepping it up–literally.

Yet at 6 feet 1" tall, I never had any inclination to rock heels (after all I wasn’t trying to add MORE height to my stature) so I never learned how to walk in them. I think my  very narrow, long feet also play a role in the wobbly unattractive gait I develop when I try to wear any heel higher than 2 " –forget it if they are kitten heels! The unfortunate thing is that all this limits my  shoe options considerably!  I have two pairs of love sandals with kitten heels or the equivalent that may be 2.5 inches and I swear I have never worn them outside my house. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to walk around the house in them in an effort to dare to wear them out, but the wobbly, shaky ankle look is so not cool and bordering on spraining my foot. I’m averse to injury so the moment my whole foot bends while trying to walk it’s over.

I don’t need heels to add height I want them for the sex appeal–and 3 inches will more than suffice. If only…I got excited recently when I tried on a pair of Sam Edeleman’s that were SO cool–funky and edgy–just the type of shoe missing in my closet. Amazingly I was just almost able to walk in them–they may have been 3.5 inches but they had a nice solid heel base (which makes a huge difference BTW). The problem however was that my feet were too narrow for the shoe–argh!! That is always the ultimate "gotcha" with shoes and me.

What is interesting though is I thought I was alone in my shoe challenge. But as an image consultant I have met so many women –petite, average, tall–who struggle with shoes that fit comfortably for one reason or another. For some its the inability to master walking in them. My heart goes out to the woman if she is petite and actually could use the height leverage heels provide. For others, it is a too wide foot that limits their options. Others have unique foot issues (large or narrow heels, one foot larger than the other etc.) that make finding shoes period very challenging. Then there are the MANY who used to rock heels decades ago and now suffer the consequences with ailments from foot pain, bunions, arch issues etc.

Moral? There are lots of women out here needing options that are stylish and funky in a variety of sizes and widths and styles. I have met women who wear their heels but then they have to sit down in them because to walk in them is torture. I’m sorry– comfort over style is my mantra-if I can’t sit, stand, walk or run if I have too in complete ease I’m not wearing the shoe.

Shoes are a critical part of one’s style and look. I’ve had to ‘make do’ and it’s unfortunate. Unfortunate for me and the many women who wistfully long to rock a pair of really hot shoes but struggle to find styles that work. Designers like Softspots, Clarks, Sofft, Cole Haan, Naturalizer, Munro, Trotters, Van Eli and even Aerosoles are trying to provide comfortable options for women like me. Nordstroms now has a section called comfort shoe shop on their website. If I can find a shoe like this Sofft peep toe that fits my narrow feet that I can walk in, I’ll be a happy gal.

Sofft Raine pump @ 3.5 "


For me Van Eli is really the only brand that gives me my length and width (11AAA) in lower heel options. Suffice it to say most of my shoes are mail ordered and made by Van Eli. But options have definitely  gotten more promising in the past two years. The gladiator trend put flat shoes back on the market and a big hallelujah for that!  And the recent trend in boots of all heights and styles is a huge boon–its one of the (few) reasons I look forward to fall/winter season so I can wear boots from my increasing collection of riding style boots.

So there is hope! Looking forward to being pleasantly surprised this season!  I just found this cute pair from Van Eli that comes in narrow that might work–don’tbe surprised if you see me Flaunting It!


Van Eli Phebe Calf

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management

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

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

Win a pair of Via Spiga shoes! Read on for details

Ladies how often do you get a chance to win a pair of shoes valued at over $200 just by reading a column? Not often. Well through April 25th (THIS SUNDAY) you have the opportunity  to do just that. It’s Via Spiga’s 25th Anniversary this year, and one of the ways they want to celebrate their loyal consumers is by giving back. So we’re doing an exciting giveaway of a “special gift” from Via Spiga.

But before I tell you how you can be eligible to win this ‘prize’ let me tell you a little bit about Via Spiga!

Via Spiga takes its name from the legendary street in Milan. Their shoes are steeped in a heritage of pure Italian designs, leathers and quality materials. Today the brand delivers sleek and architecturally inspired styles, binging luxury fashion within reach of all women. The entire collection has a feel of amped up femininity, for women who like to command attention when they walk down the street… whether in Milan, New York, Washington DC or anywhere. And as you know, shoes are the ultimate accessory, that can take your outfit up several notches in the flick of an ankle strap.

What can you expect from a Via Spiga shoe? Quality materials, superior workmanship, style, the latest in footwear trends and an attitude!

The Image and Wardrobe Examiner column in partnership with Via Spiga is giving away a gift bag with a pair of shoes (your choice from three selections) to one lucky woman and a couple other surprise giftables for those who participate in the contest.

Here are your choices of shoes!

Jasmin valued at $225

Ivory valued at $164

Jolie valued at $225

What do you have to do to enter?
Comment on this article about why you love shoes and why they are the ultimate accessory. Get creative. If you own a Via Spiga shoe tell us about it. The winner will be chosen from among the best responses and then chosen at random.You can comment  on the column, via my twitter account  or on my Facebook fan page or to my e-mail  If you do comment on the column directly, e-mail or DM me on Twitter so I know who you are!

The winner will be chosen and announced on The Image and Wardrobe Examiner column and my Facebook fan page on April 25th in honor of the company’s anniversary.

The odds of wining are very high! Good luck!

 For more information visit Via Spiga’s website, become their Facebook fan and follow Via Spiga on Twitter.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

Fashion Trends, Hits and Misses at the 2010 Grammy Awards

Like the other award shows this month, the Grammy’s red carpet is a platform to showcase the trends that are sure to flourish in spring. One trend I am really digging is the bold  pop of color. At the Globes we saw a lot of purple (Sandra Bullock) and cobalt blue (Maggie G). We also saw some stunning white gowns—no one looked better than Kate Hudson at the Globes! At the Grammy’s, Fergie gives us a taste of color in her Pucci colbalt blue mini. She looks stunning and stands out from the pack because there really wasn’t a whole lot of color on the Grammy red carpet. But there was plenty white, black and other neutrals.

Steve Granitz/ Wire Images

White: Lada Gaga made her entrance in a white Armani Prive dress. Read my critique on Lady Gaga at the Grammys.

Stunner Rihanna, mixed it up and wore a long Elie Saab gown that pretty much covered her up head to toe. This gown is overly worked and not flattering on the singer. Feathers, chiffon armored looking cap sleeves—we can’t see her youthful frame and it’s just TOO much. Sorry Rihanna not a winner.

Steve Granitz/Wire Images

Carrie Underwood also strutted on the red carpet in a white gown. This one I loved for her. Simple yet elegant. Fresh and fashion forward. Ethereal and angular at the same time with its one shoulder design. All in all a lovely balance of aesthetics. This is a feminine look with an edgy side, which pretty much describes Carrie.  Her accessories add a beautiful finishing touch. Carrie looks like she can float away on a cloud—so easy and effortless. Kudos!

Larry Busacca/Wire Images

Black was also a theme at the Grammy’s just like the Globes. Singer Ciara probably wore the most risqué design with her lacy peek a boo black Givenchy haute couture ensemble. I loved how she kept her makeup clean and simple and accessories minimal—the outfit had enough going on!

Larry Busacca/Wire Images

Jennifer Hudson wore head to toe black (literally) in a Victoria Beckham design. I don’t mind the dress, really. I like that as a curvier, larger size girl, Jhud goes for it. She shows appropriate cleavage and dresses to enhance her assets. But I think the dark black hose, shoes and hair with the straight long black bangs makes her look too somber though. Its all too serious—in stark contrast to Carrie. Jhud I love you in color—embrace it girlfriend!

Larry Busacca/Wire Images

Dark blue was also a hit at the 52nd Grammy awards. Taylor Swifts looks so glamorous and sophisticated in her off the shoulder, glittery navy gown designed by Kaufman Franco. Her dress fits her impeccable. Hair and makeup perfection. Authentic as usual. Wavy hair her signature . Love her long dropped diamond earrings. She looks so beautiful.

Steve Kranitz/Wire Images

Glee actress Lea Michele made her Grammys debut in a navy minidress from Romona Keveza  that was both sexy, stylish and fun. Accented with a full shredded chiffon skirt, one shoulder design and cinched waist she looked gorgeous.

Kevin Mazur/Wire Images

Neutral shades were also popular on this red carpet. Beyonce wore a blush colored gown. Read my article on Beyonce’s look . Singer  Katy Perry looked exotic in an Indian inspired,  nude, floor-skimming. flower-embellished Zac Posen dress. I like the idea of the dress but I’m not crazy about it on her. The color doesn’t work, the styling does not enhance and its forgettable. Snooze.

Larry Busacca/Getty

Pink whose performance was the hit of the night won my award for best neutral toned dress and contender for best dressed period. I love the scalloped tiers, the ombre color design from silver to blush to gray to black. Her body never looked better and this dress flaunts it. Way to go Pink!

  Steve Granitz / Wire Images

The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards live  Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, on CBS.

The Image Diva, image consultant and President of Elan Image Management

Grammy Award Style Icons in 2010

It’s red carpet awards season and one of my favorites is the Grammy Awards. This is one award show that holds my interest, especially on the fashion front. The styles on the red carpet tend to be more avant garde , bolder, more dramatic than the other shows and the outfits worn by the performers can be jaw dropping. I can’t wait to see what singers like Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Fergie and Kate Perry will wear.

First Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga makes a statement—but do we expect anything less?  Practical, of course not! But it makes us all go ga ga that she dares to pull it off. And so she does. I’ve been writing about personal style and Lady Gaga is the quintessential Diva. What makes a Diva? The Diva seeks attention and that ‘star quality’ by being overly dramatic in her choice of cut, silhouette, color or design. The Diva is all about standing out so she will break rules and march by the beat of her own drum just to command attention and create shock value. 

Describes Lady Gaga to a ‘T’. Tonight she wears a white  Armani gown that looks like a pop up hamper was the inspiration. Ultra short in the front and completely impractical. Poker face (pun intended). Crazy heels, wires, sparkles, glitter all make up her ensemble. I’m not sure how she’s going to sit down in it but it’s all about making an entrance, right?

Beyonce: Beyonce looked more demure than usual  in a blush satin gown from Stephane Rolland. The neutral fishtail gown with train  showcases her bronze complexion. The dress features  contoured details and construction emphasizing her famous curves. True to style, she is rocking oversized earrings this time in bold gold to match her nail polish.

There is a lot going on in this dress; construction, design and texture are all competing for our attention. The seaming details, longer sleeve and plunging neckline are other accents. I like this dress but I don’t love it on her. It’s a little too much. I much preferred her in Ellie Saab at the 2006 Grammy’s. Beyonce’s sense of style is dramatic and in that sense the dress does not disappoint. But the earrings are overkill and jarring to me.

She may not have won my award for best dressed but the singer has already won song of the year for ‘Single Ladies’ tonight. Up for 10 awards she is sure to take home many more Grammy’s.  Congrats!

The Image Diva, image consultant and President of Elan Image Management,

Fashion trends we hopefully won’t see in 2010

This article might be a tad controversial.  It’s my personal opinion on fashion trends that have been universally unflattering to women, that need to be banished from closets everywhere in the year ahead. You see, sometimes designers push the limit. They are artists after all—but just because they design it and the stores buy it, doesn’t mean we have to wear it!

Some trends that surfaced this year were just downright silly (see #1 harem pants). Really. Others are just so been there done that (see #5, ripped jeans). Others, still,  just aren’t stylish (see  Crocs #7). And the rest simply don’t flatter.

So without further ado, here is my top 10 list of Fashion Dont’s for 2010 (not rank ordered).

1.    Harem pants- Seriously designers did you really expect this one to stick? Who does this flatter?

Theory Harem pants

Not Chloe Sevigny in a leopard pair!

2.    Colored tights—I know they are supposed to be edgy and ‘stylish but honestly they just scream ‘tacky’ to me. Save this for the teenage and under crowd.

Apt 9 tights from Kohls

3.    Leggings as pants—Be clear—I love leggings with tunics and minis. The issue I have is women wearing leggings (sometimes even black tights) as if they are pants! In other words, if your rear is exposed it’s not that cool.

Come on Halle. Even you can’t get away with this look! The jacket does not hide the front of these very see through tights. So not becoming.

Gwen, nice try by covering everything else on top but this seriously looks like you’re missing your pants.

4.    Leg warmers—Cute in theory maybe but stylish, non.

5.    Ripped jeans—Please ladies do not revive this one. It’s plain sloppy and collegiate. If you want edgy try a zippered bootie. And honestly there are jean options galore that do not involve holes.

Alice + Olivia spattered ripped jeans from Nordstroms

6.    Extreme shoulder pads—Again designers tried hard to make this trend take off but thankfully most women resisted. Everyone remembers the late 80’s fashion. *Shudder*

I love Rihanna’s edgy style. Love it. And she almost makes me think this works. But harem leather pants AND shoulder padded jacket–say it isn’t so!

7.    Colored plastic Crocs. I don’t need to say anything else. Even Crocs has better options in recent months.

Crocs Mary Jane

8.    4 inch + wide belts—Okay this was tough. As a lover of cinching belts I have seen too many abuses of this style—petite women covering up their whole torso with a wide belt (in effect making them appear shorter) or women cinching tops that aren’t long enough for the width of the belt. Even the First lady has sometimes not gotten this right. To be safe stick to belts no wider than 2.5 inches unless you are really long torsoed.

Even in an all black ensemble, this uber wide belt just isn’t flattering on Fergie.

9.    Hot pants-Sigh. Just because you have great legs it is not always appropriate to show them in most situations. Leave a little to the imagination?

10.    Uggs—I’ve been sick of Uggs for years. Again if the teenagers want to rock these fine but on grown women they look like you’re trying  too hard. There are many other comfy boot alternatives.

Ugg Australia Baily Button boot from Nordstrom

To help ensure you start the New Year off to a great start read these tips for Purging your closet.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Feminine Chic Styles for Fall

One fashion trend I’m loving this fall is the new subtle femininity (even as the menswear trend continues to be on the uptick). Pleating, ruching, pintucks, panels and tiers will be a design element in a lot of this season’s fashions. It’s all about texture and lines baby! Look at the detailing in the pleating, pintucks and ruffles on this BCBGMaxAzria dress from Nordstrom:

This can be a great way to camouflage figure flaws–use vertical lines to lengthen and thin, horizontal ones to widen or shorten. Ruching and draping—not just for the Greeks! Amazing way to look svelte and alluring while hiding your less than perfect attributes.

You want to make sure you pay attention to fabrication-heavier weight fabric drapes better, like matte jersey or rayon/poly blends. Make sense? Draping or ruching near the tummy area? Genius for those with hint of a tummy bulge. Check out this ruffle silk print skirt from 3.1 Philip Lim available @ Nordstrom. The large pattern and diagonal tiers are great camoflagers!


Detailing like bows and ruffles are also part of the ladylike sensibility we are seeing this season. The classic white shirt gets an instant makeover with frills, bows, puff sleeves and dramatic collars, reminiscent of bygone eras when people read poetry to each other. Like this dress from Classiques Entier with a bow tie neckline available at Nordstrom.

 Or this cute ruffle top from Flounce tbd available at Nordstrom

Accentuate your curves in a not so obvious way, with cinched belts, figure contouring sheaths, pencil skirts and softly tailored jackets. Like this perfect ensemble from


Embrace the feminine side of you this fall!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Fall Gear to Wear Now

If you’re like me, when the temps start to dip, deciding what to wear becomes more challenging. In the 60’s it is not yet cold enough for full on fall gear but not warm enough to just rock a cotton day dress either. So what’s a fashionable gal to do?  Read my tips for strategically managing the seasonal transitions.


Wrap thy neck in a scarf

I love scarves because they are functional AND stylish and to me is the ultimate cool weather accessory. But scarves in a variety of colors, patterns, fabrics, shapes and tie them in creative ways for warmth and panache. In the photo on right I just let my scarf hang loose indoors and outside I wrapped it around a couple times: instant warmth and a great pop of teal blue near my face.


Tights are all right

Ladies, I think tights and leggings are here to stay for a miniute just not because of fashion because they too serve an important function. They keep our legs warm when we want to rock a dress or tunic! To play it safe stay monochromatic–black tights/black shoes boots. Be wary of coloful or overly patterned tights–only a few women can execute that look effectively.

The Trench is your friend

There is a reason the trench coat is classic. It is indisputably a wardrobe essential especially for seasonal transitiions. Plus the new styles are so chic! Belted, cinched, padded shoulder, knee length, cropped, colorful or neutral–its all good! Don a trench and know you’ve got your bases covered. Check out Burberry trenches for fab ideas:

Trade up to boots

When it starts to get nippy I need socks and I’m not talking with sneaks. Boots are funky and stylish but also provide more warmth to the feet (especially when worn with socks!) This fall boots are also a huge trend–boots, booties, thigh high, you think of a style and its on trend. So get thee a couple pairs and you’ll look cute and weather the temps too. Visit my previous post on Franco Sarto shoes and boots for ideas.

Leona by Via Spiga


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