A white blanket of snow, topped off by inches of ice, covers everything in sight for as far as my eye can see. Although Spring is a mere days away, we are deep in a frozen tundra. Although our mudrooms are overflowing with down parkas, mittens, hats, scarves and boots I am envisioning the good days ahead... The days filled with warmth and sunshine, rosy cheeks, pink and green buds, pastel flowers and gentle breezes. I look forward to shedding these layers bit by bit... I look forward to the days of light sweaters, but even more so, to those days when we can freely bare our arms and shoulders! The past couple of summers saw the popularity of bare shoulders and this trend doesn't seem to be passing us by any time soon. I happen to adore this - I think a woman's décolletage is incredibly beautiful and this is a style that suits so many so well. As I no longer wear figure hugging tops, I think the shoulder-baring style is incredibly forgiving and flattering. I also love the sleeveless look, revealing our feminine yet strong arms. Below, some of my favorite looks - both casual and dressy... The warm weather will be here before we know it! Least, that's what I'm telling myself!
The food has been eaten. The table has been cleared. The dishes have been done. The leftovers have been packaged up and placed in the fridge in anticipation of the promising leftovers that will beckon tomorrow. If you're like me the last thing you'll want to do is to slip into a pair of jeans. Their unrelenting waistbands cruel reminders of last night's Thanksgiving meal, of the celebrations of the seasons... Some of us will wake up and go for long morning runs, some will run to their local gyms and hit the weight machines, spin and Zumba classes in order to try to undo some of the damage. And some brave souls will get up and fight the crowds to secure some of those great Black Friday deals. I will most likely try to get in a workout and chase down some deals, but I won't be going anywhere near a pair of jeans today! I'll be dressed in something casual, comfortable, forgiving and flattering. I love dresses. There's a dress for every occasion, from play to work to holiday party - from tunic to sweater dress to shift and A-Line to the classic wrap. Paired with a pair of leggings and flats or tights (Spanx?) and boots, dresses are the perfect way to carry through this Season of Eating!
1. The Classic A-Line
This might be the most flattering of all styles with it's streamlined top that flares out generously from the waist down. Elegant, graceful and perfect for carrying you from the office to the office party. Go ahead, sneak another piece of pecan pie - if it goes directly to your hips no one will know!
2. The Swing/Trapeze Dress
This dress forgives a multitude of sins Sleeveless versions reveal toned arms and legs. Some styles allow a lightweight sweater or blouse to be worn underneath, giving the dresses more versatility. Choose from casual to more formal styles. It should be noted, however, if you are well endowed the swing dress may resemble a maternity dress, which if you're expecting, is a wonderful thing... but if you're not, you may want to opt for one of the other styles featured.
3. The Shift Dress
The shift dress (as opposed to the sheath) hangs straight from the shoulders down to the hips. (The sheath has a defined waist) Shifts became popular in the 1960s and are still popular choices. Wear a shift after a big meal and your bloated belly remains top secret. Or select something as the dress pictured immediately below so that you can fully enjoy your holiday fete in comfort. Another canapé? Yes, please - don't mind if I do!
4. The Sweater Dress
This is my go-to choice in the wintertime. Not only is it warm and comfortable, but forgiving and flattering. I wear mine with leggings for a more casual look and dressed up with tights and boots for a more polished look. For more ideas see my recent piece on Sweater Dressing.
5. The Wrap Dress/Faux Wrap Dress
Although appearing form-fitting, this dress style is forgiving and flattering- hugging you in just the right places, highlighting curves, hitting you in all the right places. A pair of control-top or Spanx will smooth out those unwanted bulges from last night's mashed potatoes ad stuffing!
and when you just want to lounge around...
Leggings and an Oversized Sweater
For those of you who are feeling more casual and plan on spending the next couple of days running errands and shopping and prepping for Christmas there's nothing that a pair of leggings and a slouchy sweater can't fix! For those of you who work in a more casual office environment you might be able to pull off a look like this or pair the leggings with a less bulky sweater and a tailored jacket. But remember not to get too comfortable in those leggings - waistbands are forgiving, but your jeans aren't. Don't let this fashion friend replace a healthy diet and trip to the gym!
This summer's musts are many, luckily for our wallets, many are repeat items from summers and years past... Classics, after all, never fade from style and sometimes these timeless sleepers become trends again. Whether you need a wardrobe refresher, complete overhaul, or are looking for a couple of key items, the following not only have universal appeal, but cross any age and size barriers... In essence, not only are they timeless and stylish but they're virtually one style suits all! Whether your budget is better suited for the Gap or for Nordstrom's, you'll find these favorites everywhere.
1. A pretty, wide brimmed straw hat to keep out the sun's ray is a must. From the flower market to the farmer's market to the beach. Not only will a pretty hat protect your skin, scalp and hair, it just looks pretty whether worn with jeans, shorts or a pretty dress.
2. An oversized straw bag - Do make sure it is a sturdy one. Some of them can be quite flimsy and we need our bags to be pretty and practical! From office to cocktail hour, or from farmer's market to beach, a simple straw bag is the ultimate summer accessory. Perfect for toting a paperback, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, keys, lipstick and phone, there's still plenty of room for any last minutes add-ins... as in I just had to get that adorable cardigan I saw in the storefront window!
3. Sunglasses - Always in style, always important to have, but especially in the summer when the days are brighter and longer. Luckily for our own style preferences and face shapes, it seems that everything goes these days, though I have been seeing many Aviator style glasses with blue lenses lately.
4. Little White Sneakers - The little white sneaker is so versatile and is the perfect summer shoe for those who plan on traveling (near or far) and sightseeing this summer. Sensible and pairs well with dresses or jeans. I've been crushing on the Adidas Stan Smith for a while now, and I love that in addition to the classic green, they're available with black, navy and red trims. I think the navy is my favorite.
5. Swing dresses are perfect for a hot summer's day. This loose and carefree style is very forgiving and flatters many body shapes. Quite frankly there are just days you don't want to suck it in or wear spanx! They seem to be quite the rage and you'll find them everywhere from J. McLaughlin to Anthropologie.
6. Lace up shoes seem are all the rage. Whether in a heel or flat, these shoes are flirty and feminine and complement any wardrobe.
7. Beige pumps, sling backs or slides. Neutral is always a great look for spring. While white shoes are technically permissible after Memorial Day, unless they're a pair of ballet flats or sandals, I prefer a neutral color shoe for a classic and sophisticated look. White shoes don't always work or look right.
8. Wedge sandals - The wedge which saw a new popularity a couple of summers ago and will remain a strong presence this summer. Especially for shorter girls like myself!
9. Anything off the shoulder - The off-the-shoulder look is hot right now and I love it. I think every woman's best asset is her shoulders... so set them free. Whether a top paired with pants or in dress form, you'll want to pick up several!
10. White jeans - A perennial favorite that never goes out of favor or style. Although now it's perfectly acceptable to wear them year round, they are still a warm weather favorite with their ability to lighten and brighten the wardrobe.
11. The tunic - Comfortable, forgiving, versatile. I adore tunics and they're great worn on their own or with a pair of jeans or trousers, with flats or heels. The tunic is a must in every warm weather wardrobe.
12. A little white blouse - As essential as the LBD is to every woman's wardrobe, so is the LWB. Slightly oversized, pressed or naturally air dried, this one shirt is the most versatile of all. From the office, to party to the weekend stroll. One can never have to many little white blouses.
13. In the same vein as the LWB every woman should have a loose gauzy white shirt - More bohemian in flair, this is the perfect item to wear when the sun's rays are particularly hot. The loose, lightweight material will keep you cool and protected from the sun. On the hottest days people tend to bare all, but you'll actually feel cooler if covered up lightly.
14. A kimono or similar cover-up for those slightly cool evenings. Again, slightly bohemian in flair and flavor, these best represent the carefree easy days of summer. The obvious pairing is with jeans, but they look lovely with a simple single colored shift or fitted dress.
15. A long cardigan perfectly compliments everything. Evenings can still be a bit chilly and a duster will allow you to enjoy the outdoors longer and more comfortably!