style profiles


Huffington Post – Michelle Obama – JCrew coat

I am often asked whether it is alright to wear again the same fabulous outfit one wore at a very visible venue to yet another function. My answer is always, “Absolutely!”. This frequent question has led me to reflect on where our hesitancy and sometimes, even embarrassment, to repeat an outfit comes from! Is it possible that we got caught up in the celebrity frenzy over the past decade whereby we are bombarded daily with the celebrity ‘good life’ and the enviable wardrobe that is different everyday? This, accompanied by stories of the vast free goods these celebs are sent from designers and retailers. Of course, this would trigger feelings of wanting to keep up with the celebrities – I mean we are only human!

It seems that due to the mass media coverage of celebrities and their fashion choices and our salacious appetite for this information, the celebs have become our “Joneses” more so than our neighbors. And what happens if we don’t keep up? Are we then doomed to feel once again that we aren’t good enough? The celebrity fashionistas must feel relentless pressure from their PR agents, business managers, the tabloids, and the public to keep up the daily off-screen runway shows at relentless red carpet appearances and even while running into the grocery store. It is even referred to in media as a repeat offense if the celeb wears the same accessory again. Geez! I guess my fashion crimes would surpass the three strikes law.

Thank goodness for the recession! …well, at least in terms of repeat fashions. We now have visual examples on ways to get the most use out of our own wardrobes. Today, we have more leading ladies in the public eye who are showing us that it is acceptable and worthwhile to repeat outfits. Mentors such as Vogue’s Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour says, “It’s totally okay – I even recommend it” regarding repeat outfits. The most influential woman in fashion who has full access to goods even does it herself. And, of course, there is First Lady Michelle Obama leading the way too. The Huffington Post has created a wonderful photo montage of Mrs. Obama’s fashion repeats. It is such a great learning tool. Even Hollywood celebrities appear to be jumping on board the repeat express. I adore the monthly segment “I Really LOVE My…” in People Style Watch magazine. It focuses on the various ways a celebrity will wear their favorite accessory. The diverse ways they incorporate the favored piece is inspirational.

Most of us have specific ways we prefer to wear our favorite outfit(s) – same clothing, same accessories, same everything styled exactly the same way. This method works well when we distance the timeline of the beloved outfit(s) (eg. once every 2.5 weeks) or when we wear the ensemble to unrelated events (ie. office work, business travel, dissimilar audience, assorted networking groups, off-duty social engagements). An occasion that I really recommend to my clients that they do not repeat an identical outfit is when they have already worn it for business promotional materials including book covers or book bio jacket flaps. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen authors wear the exact same outfit while on a promotional tour for their book (ie. television appearances or speaking engagements) and they are wearing the exact same outfit that is featured on their book. This fashion repeat makes the author appear unimaginative and a one-note writer. It is better to re-style the outfit and wear it for unrelated activities.

There is actually a multitude of ways to alter the look of your ‘go-to’ outfit rather than wearing it exactly the same way every time. It certainly makes getting dressed more fun. To keep you looking your best, here are some style techniques to take your fashion repeats to the next level:

  • Vary one piece of clothing. For instance, try a different blouse with your favorite black suit…perhaps one of the new beautiful floral prints in stores right now. Or, instead of wearing the matching black pants, wear your grey dress pants and keep the rest of the outfit status quo.
  • Mix up the accessories. Add or eliminate one piece in the collection of jewelry that you usually wear with your black suit. Switch up your gold charm necklace with a fresh summer green turquoise bead necklace. Even a simple change from your diamond stud earrings to your thin gold medium sized hoop earrings will alter the overall look of your black suit. Exchange your closed toe black pumps for a platform pair of nude slingbacks for the warmer months ahead.
  • Transform the outfit’s shape. Untuck the blouse that you always wear with your black suit and slip on a waist belt, giving the outfit more dimensions. Or, try putting a belt on the outside of the jacket to create a more prominent hourglass shape. You can even switch the standard black blazer jacket for a cropped black swing jacket to create a completely different silhouette. Swap your black straight legged dress pants for the wide legged version. Instant transformation!
  • Revolutionize the vibe of the outfit. Your preferred black suit can go from the corporate office out to dinner with your partner or friends. Simply alter the outfit’s image. Trade your conservative kitten heel work pumps for a sexy pair of metallic caged platform sandals. Then layer on several mixed metal bracelets. And finally, switch your everyday satchel handbag for a snakeskin clutch bag. Your black suit went from corporate to cocktail with only a few small changes.
  • Make modifications. Change up the way you usually wear an item in your ‘go-to’ outfit. For instance, unbutton your black jacket that you always seem to keep buttoned up or vice versa. Make an effort to further unbutton the button-down blouse that you always wear with the black suit and layer over an impressive cami. Try to double wrap the long necklace that you seem to always wear as one strand or wrap it several times around your wrist as a bracelet.
  • Play with hair and makeup. It is so easy to keep our daily beauty routine sweet and simple, but that doesn’t mean that we need to do the same things everyday. Take a crack at wearing your hair up if you always wear it down with your favored black suit. Even adjusting your hair part will add new zest to your look. Add a bolder lipstick color the next time you wear your black suit. Experiment with an on trend fuchsia colored nail polish.

Do we really have the time to fret about what people will think if we repeat an outfit? No, we don’t! If it is a nice outfit on you and works well for your endeavors, then who cares?! Let’s drop the concern and self-sabotage. We now have plenty of examples provided to us to change up our favored outfits and keep us looking and feeling our best. Give these tips your best shot and repeat to your best advantage.

Has this post changed the way you view the question of “To repeat or not to repeat?” Do you feel liberated from the tyranny of the ‘in our heads’ style police?

vss-logosmall Need help on finding the best pieces to transform your ‘go-to’ outfit? Simply sign up for my new Virtual Styling Services by clicking on the link and I will find the best pieces specifically for you! Don’t forget, I do a wonderful job with accessories, too. Be sure to complete the VSS questionnaire for best fit and, if possible, – include photographs of you in your favored outfit. signaturesmall3


Post image for Fashions From The 2010 Academy Awards – Oscar Worthy Looks

Sandra Bullock – Vanity Fair – WireImage

The glitz! The glamour! Oh my! The fashions on the red carpet are always a treat. And the Oscars are the grand dame of them all. The 82nd Academy Awards show did not disappoint. It is a sheer pleasure to watch the celebrities get all dressed up and showcase glamour for glamour’s sake. We can sense their anticipation and excitement for the evening’s results and fanfare. Most of us will never have the opportunity to get quite as glammed up as those in the entertainment business. So, the awards show is our chance to live vicariously through our favorite celebrities. We get to fantasize about what we might wear if we were walking down the red carpet. We get to see some of the latest trends for special occasion dressing; even noting the beauty and accessory trends. And so, when the time comes for us to get dressed up, we now have a visual reference in our mind thanks to these women, their stylist, and fashion designers. The red carpet at the Oscars is a global runway; let’s watch and learn!

The fashions extravaganza for the Academy Awards is a worldwide event that definitely proves to highlight and celebrate the powerful aesthetics of being a woman. The most favorite moments are those on the red carpet when these ideal models of beauty make themselves approachable to the public. Here are my top five choices (plus a bonus) for best overall look:



Rachel McAdams – WWD – Donato Sardella


Rachel McAdams – InStyle – Kyle Rover

Actress Rachel McAdams was one of the presenters at the 2010 Oscars and she looked absolutely gorgeous on Sunday! Her fresh contemporary approach to red carpet glamour was a huge success. She actually seemed to float down the red carpet rather than walk. The Elie Saab Couture water-colored floral print fabric was stunning and fortunately did not overpower her body frame or her romantic facial features. The mixed color palette of predominately blues, greens and pinks was not only perfect on her, but it was also perfect for the current transitional season. The criss-crossed bodice alluded to a cinched in waistline while the full skirt was not puffy, but rather swept gracefully away from her body and moved beautifully down the long red carpet. The intricately carved and embellished diamond Lorraine Schwartz earrings were a spectacular choice. Although they were large in size, they did not visually distract the audience from her lovely face. Her soft and neutral makeup plus her relaxed updo hairstyle complimented and completed her ensemble wonderfully – nothing was fussy or overdone. Simply divine!



Demi Moore – InStyle – Jason Merritt – Getty Images


Demi Moore – InStyle – Jen Lowery – Splash News

Actress Demi Moore was also a presenter at last night’s awards show. This was another example of a very successful cohesive red carpet look that worked really well specifically for Demi. I particularly fell in love with the mixed blush tones of fabric segments overlapping each other at the fitted bodice and then they transcend into rows of ruffled silk organza down the skirt. These exact shades of nudes in this Atelier Versace gown are absolutely brilliant with Demi’s skin tone. The colors bring forth all the different natural and flattering shades she already possesses in her complexion. These specific nude colors do not wash her out. Plus the proportions of each strip of fabric used in the bodice, as well as, those displayed within the ruffles at the skirt worked exceptionally well in relation to her lean body frame and delicate facial features. It was also nice to see Demi exhibiting a softer wavy hairstyle rather than her usual severe sleek straight tresses. It was not only a nice changeup for her in general, but the hairstyle worked well with the modern romantic essence of her gown.



Kristen Stewart – Huffington Post – Getty Images


Kristen Stewart – Huffington Post – Getty Images

Kristen Stewart wore a dramatic gown that did not overwhelm her youth or her straight body frame. That is a challenging feat! Although I am sure the midnight blue color really brought forth her amazing green eyes, it did not read well on camera or in print. The design details, particularly within the sculpted bodice, were really challenging for the audience to see. In spite of this, I thought this was a great choice for her. The sweetheart neckline on this Monique Lhuillier gown and the banded waist subset with the fitted trumpet skirt provided her with some really feminine curves. Kristen often wears dress shapes that play into her boyish body frame and design details that coincide with edgier personality traits which often suit her so well but, this was a nice change for this very special event. Her hair and makeup were youthful and modern too. This cohesion translated well to viewers. Her beauty seemed stunning, appropriate, yet still very approachable.



Sandra Bullock – Huffington Post – Getty Images


Sandra Bullock – InStyle – Kevin Mazur – WireImage

It was most certainly a memorable evening for Oscar winning actress, Sandra Bullock. At first glance, I was a little disappointed with the dress she chose to wear to the Academy Awards. I remember thinking that if she won the award that her dress will be the same color as the statue – almost a mini-version of her presence on the red carpet. Hmmm… But then, I succumbed. And thereafter, I couldn’t imagine her in anything else on this special occasion. The Marchesa dress style was undeniably gorgeous. It fit to perfection. She looked like liquid gold walking down the red carpet and on the winner’s podium. She actually glowed on television and this was before she even won the Best Actress award. The beaded gown had an embroidered illusion bodice and a delicate cap sleeve. The mixed metallic’s seemed to change color depending upon the light. I thought the juxtaposition between the subdued color schemes of the dress with the vibrant pink-red Chanel Rouge Coco in Paris lipstick was divine. The lipstick color brought forward her stunning face. And finally, when she said that the jewelry she was wearing were all sentimental gifts from her husband over the years and they even complimented the dress…well, that made me realize she not only won me over with her choice in attire, but also that she was oozing ‘winner’ as soon as she stepped out onto the red carpet.



Vera Farmiga – HuffingtonPost – Getty Images


Vera Farmiga – HuffingtonPost – Getty Images

Best supporting actress nominee, Vera Farmiga also chose to wear a dress designed by Marchesa. I found her overall look to be a winner. There are so few who could successfully pull off this statement making gown – the design is bold and the color is bold. That is a lot visual stimuli within a dress and to not have it take away from her natural beauty was a feat. In short, that was a lot of dress. But she did it! My favorite part was actually the color. An undeniably vibrant shade of pink fuchsia. Positively memorable. The color itself was not only beautiful and attention grabbing but, more importantly, it brought forth her dazzling blue eyes and flawless complexion. The elaborate sculpted pleated wave ruffles cascaded down the strapless column dress. It was a lovely surprise that these design details did not make Vera appear shorter in stature but, rather they made her 5’5” height appear 5’10”. Amazing!



Kathryn Bigelow – WWD – Donato Sardella

I will start off by saying that I did not like this dress for the now Academy Award winning director, Kathryn Bigelow. I think there were more flattering design options for her. But, if you are going to wear a wrinkle prone silk satin column gown then, she has the ideal body type to do so – tall and lean. The titanium color was nice on her and the embroidered bodice of this Yves Saint Laurent dress was crafted beautifully. Did Katheryn look terrible? No, not at all. I don’t think that she could look terrible. But more important than the dress is the fact that she is an example of a vibrant, sexy, smart, confident, approachable 58 year old modern day business woman. Yes, 58! Hard to believe. It is an obvious fact to me and others that her creative business acumen and no-nonsense approach to beauty is inspirational.

These are my top five picks for best overall looks at the Oscars this year. I find it visually inspiring when these women in the entertainment business don’t conform to the masses – that they select dresses and complimentary accessories and beauty trends that work well specifically for them…and that they are still trying to look like themselves while dressed for uncommon circumstances. Even more exciting is when they further showcase to the public (and directors) via clothes a glimpse into other aspects of their personalities – perhaps something that we haven’t seen quite yet but will look forward to in a future role. And after they walk down the red carpet, we clearly know that they have given us a clue into more of who they are and what they want.

Okay, your turn! You know you want to give us your opinion! Who did you think looked great and who didn’t on the red carpet?