Monday, August 15, 2011

Not your grandmother's look

Hello again and happy Monday, fabulous fashionistas!

I wanted to talk to you today about something more important than Jimmy Choos, even more crucial (if that's possible!) than Christian Louboutin. We need to discuss the "matchy-matchy" thing that makes even the stylish seƱorita look dated and can make "women of a certain age," such as moi, look positively Reaganesque. I'm talkin' about matching your look top to bottom, matching your earrings and necklaces, matching your bag to your shoes...anything that "matches" (so 1960's, '70's and '80's) as opposed to blending (so NOW). To begin...

Did you have a grandmother or mom who always matched? I sure did! My female ancestors left me a cache of matching earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings. My mother never left the house with mismatched purse and shoes - and oh, the horror of wearing shoes that weren't the dominant color of your dress! Ladies wore "ensembles" and black and brown were the only neutrals. Now I know/hope that none of you think this way but I do see the 2011 equivalent, which is wearing one look (for example, Western) head to toe, still matching earrings and necklaces and wearing only "neutral" shoes and bag combos. So, we need to address this in the order of it's modern wrongness!
"Do not let magazine editors tell you what you must wear."
The most dated matchy-matchy is the jewelry disaster. Many retail outlets still sell jewelry as sets, perhaps leading you to believe that the look works. Don't fall for it! What do you do? Split them up! Wear the earrings with a different necklace or a scarf. Wear the necklace without it's earrings and find a pair that express you better. Matching is a way of denying individuality, being cookie-cutter and unimaginative, and is the enemy of authentic style, so get used to breaking up those sets. Pair different metals together, such as gold and silver. Mix wood and brass, or colored stones and patterns, like leopard. You get the idea - the only "right" way is the way that makes you feel the most like "YOU!"

Do you ever see a mannequin in a store, like the look and buy the whole outfit? Do you find one store or designer and wear them head to toe? I see many guilty looks right now. Quietly, you turn to your friend and say "what's wrong with that? It's easy." Yes, my chic-adee, it is easy. But it's also dated and screams "this isn't ME, it's the Gap!" Remember that true style is about the authentic YOU and wearing one look, store or designer head to toe is about THEM. If you see a maxidress you love on a mannequin and it fits and flatters, buy it! But maybe you already have great sandals to go with it or remember that Macy's sale has some- experiment. Think of what will be fabulous and flattering to you, not what the store stylists are pushing. Similarly, when you see a sharp piece in a magazine ad, there's no need to buy the entire outfit. Put el fabuloso top with a skirt you already have, or pair it with jeans instead of the skirt it's shown with. Always shop in your own closet first! The goal here is to see IDEAS and translate them into what flatters you - do not let magazine editors tell you what you must wear.

Now we come to the bag/shoes combos which resist all neutrals other than black and brown. Yes, they can be neutral. Yes, they can be worn together. No, you don't need to wear a brown bag with your brown boots. There are lots of neutral colors out now - and the definition of neutral has changed to mean "anything that complements/compliments the wearer and their other pieces." For example, you wear jeans and sweaters a lot in the winter, right? How about forest green shoes instead of brown? Why not pair your black pants and black and grey blouse with red boots? Your black leather jacket might look stunning with a purple bag - and I'll bet you I can find three other pieces in your closet that the same purple bag will just light up. The point here is that your comfort zone is only a guideline - look outside it and you'll find loads of fun things to try. So ditch the match, to heck with the top-to-toe and outlaw the outfit. Experiment with pairing different pieces together to create a modern, pulled together YOU and remember: trend is today- style is forever!

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