By Barbara Ardolino
Hello Everyone! I first want to thank all of you who responded to my last article. The questions and comments you sent were great. There seemed to be a “trend” with the questions posed. Many of you wanted to understand what different styles/trends/accessories would work for you.
If you did not have a chance to read my last article (featured in the Sept. 22 edition), I encourage you to do so. It had a lot of information pertaining to dressing for your body type, and your comments on the article were fantastic.
Today I am going to answer a cross section of questions sent to me. Think of this as a “Dear Abby” Style Column. I also will share a few of my style secrets and give you “my take” on a few of the trends discussed.
So let’s begin!
Q: I recently turned 50 and wanted to be a little daring. I bought leather pants but my daughter told me that I was too old to wear them. Am I to old?
A: Happy Birthday! I just recently turned 50 too! Here is what I have to say: Leather is trending strong this season. Leather pencil skirts, leather peplum tops, leather leggings – lots of leather. I happen to love leather but you need to know how to wear it. Leather makes a strong statement so you want to pair these edgy pants with something “soft,” a silk blouse, a cashmere sweater and layers of pearl necklaces (think Coco Chanel). It is the juxtaposition of style! If you are going to wear the leather pants, you need to be confident. Leather is not for the “faint of heart.” As I say to my clients, you need to own your style! So you go girl and celebrate being fabulous 50!
Q: I just purchased wine-colored Dior Croc-Embossed Over-The-Knee Boots. My husband is calling me one of the Three Musketeers. I am just over 5 feet tall. Am I too short to wear these boots?
A: There is no disputing you have great taste and oxblood, bordeaux and many shades of burgundy are some of the it colors of the season. The fact that you are asking this question will give you your answer. O-T-K boots are truly meant for long-legged women.
If your heart is set on “tall boots,” may I suggest black riding boots with a shorter shaft and wear them with black skinny jeans, black leggings and/or a black pencil skirt. Are you picking up on the pattern here? The key is to give you a vertical line (petites need long and lean). In keeping your boots, pants and skirts the same color, you are creating a solid line on the bottom. Adding the same color top and popping a different colored jacket or sweater would be perfect for the allover vertical line! Also, if you are loving the wine color, you can “pop” the color in an accessory or a cropped jacket. An added note: Understanding proportion is everything to a petite woman. Anything oversized will overwhelm your small frame!
Q: My grandmother gave me two of her favorite brooches before she passed away. They are beautiful and I love them but do not know how to wear them. Should I only wear them for dressy occasions?
A: What an amazing gift you have been given. She gave you something very special that you can remember her by. Vintage pieces (brooches) are “of the moment” this season and even if they were not, it would not matter. I stress to my clients and women at my workshops about personal style. What can be more personal than a gift from your grandmother?! Please do not save the brooches for just a special/dressy occasion. You can wear them with your favorite scarf, pin the brooches to a cardigan sweater or your favorite blazer (OK, any fun blazer). I love the idea of adding a brooch to a long strand of pearls. Nothing expresses personal style more than accessories! One of my style secrets is “accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!”
Q: You have mentioned discussing this season’s trends in your last article. Which trends do you like and which would you pass on?
A: There are a lot of amazing trends this season that I like and there are ones I would “pass on” because of who I am, my body type and my age. I have discovered my personal style and the current trends to use to enhance it! However, I can answer your question as a stylist, and give a “balanced” view of the “hot trends” and who can wear them and who cannot!
My No. 1 favorite fall piece is the cropped jacket. It is the must-have item in your wardrobe: velvet, leather, embellished, fur and tweed, to name a few. I love, love this piece and I will tell you why. Think about overall silhouette (which I have been discussing). It works for many body types. Go short, over long, over slim or as I call it “stepping the outfit.” You put a cropped jacket over a long shirt (tunic) or over slim pants (skinny jeans, leggings). It has an overall slimming effect. It hides the tummy and emphasizes the legs. You do not know where your legs end and your waist begins, giving the illusion of a higher waistline. Add the same colored bootie to the pants and it gives an even longer, leggier look. That’s another one of my style secrets.
I am also loving a few of the menswear inspired items – the oversized coats, the smoking slippers (it is a shoe), stacked oxfords and the boyfriend skinny jean (French cuffed). Pairing these with a feminine twist makes this look interesting and modern. Example: boyfriend jeans, velvet cropped blazer over a sequin cami and a pair of pumps. An item I have to pass on in this category is the wide leg, pleated pants. Unless you are tall and thin, these pants will make you shorter, heavier and shapeless!
The skinny pant and legging are huge this season. They are in an assortment of color, pattern and texture: brocades in gold and purple, velvets rich in color, liquid metallics, silk prints and leather. The pants are fun and fresh and often paired with an array of mixed textures and “pattern-on-pattern” tops and jackets. It is a dramatic and daring vibe. Remember, shiny fabric can add pounds to anything that is on your legs. If your legs are not up for the challenge or the look is too much, take a pass. You can always “tone” this look down by going simple on the top. And, you can “slim down” this look by “stepping” (the style tip which I just mentioned).
In summing up the trends that have been discussed, I have one final thought that I would like to share. There is a lot going on this season and I have only scratched the surface! It can be overwhelming. It is so important to understand what you can wear and how you can wear it. Listen to your instincts. If something looks off and you’re not feeling confident about wearing it, do not wear it. If you’re working too hard at putting “your look” together or, if you are getting caught up in the sea of trends, take heed that you may become a fashion victim.
Remember, style should be effortless not an effort!
I hope you enjoyed this Q-and-A format. Thank you again for all of your questions. Please keep them coming! I will have the same format in my next article and continue discussing the fall ‘12 trends!
Barbara Ardolino is a personal stylist. Since starting her company, Fab Over 40, she has been helping women understand their sense of style and what looks best on them. She is writing a five-part series on personal style for The Two River Times™. Look for each installment of the series on the third Friday of each month in the Style section. Please reach Barbara by email with your questions or comments at FabOver40Style@yahoo.com.