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Monthly Archives: September 2013

simple fashion style tips


By | Colour, Coordination, Figure Flattery, How To..., Wardrobe Savvy | 2 Comments

Are there tricks to looking slimmer, taller, better?

Yes! In fact, using the following simple style tips you can achieve the look you want. All use design lines, colors, and fabric characteristics to enhance and/or minimize your appearance.


VERTICAL design elements slim and lengthen any area of the body they are worn on. The more vertical lines there are, the slimmer and taller you will appear. Vertical elements aren’t limited to vertical stripes. They include zippers, pants, monochromatic outfits and garments, open jackets, pleats, and center front buttons, which elongate your overall appearance.

HORIZONTAL design features add width to the area on which they’re worn. Working the opposite of vertical lines, they make you appear shorter and wider. Examples range from horizontal stripes to yokes, boxy skirts, belts, wide leg pants, and wide or contrasting waistbands. These appear to “cut” the appearance of the body into sections. A good rule-of-thumb to remember is that you will appear as wide as your widest hemline.


DIAGONAL design features run at an angle across the body, but follow vertical/horizontal illusions. If the angle is more vertical, the area appears taller and thinner. If the angle is more horizontal, the area appears shorter and wider.

CURVED/ROUND design elements add (surprise!) curves. While this sounds ideal if you’re going for a feminine look, know they also add width and weight, which is not ideal if you have ample sources of both. Floral, paisley, and swirly patterns, along with round necklines, curved hemlines, and contoured belts achieve the look.

Color is an easy device to use to maximize or minimize your size and manipulate your height (i.e. appear shorter or taller).  Below are some simple style tips related to color.

Look at the following photos: in Photo A, the hips appear wider than in Photo C. Why is that? Light, bright colors “advance,” making the area they are worn over appear larger. Light colors worn on the upper half your body draw the eye upward, thus they also make you appear taller (Photo C). Dark colors “recede,” and do the exact opposite (medium depth colors have no movement effect). Darker colors also appear “heavier” than lighter colors and help you appear more balanced when worn on your lower half. Photos D & E show the slimming effect of the use of darker colors and low color contrast coordination (i.e. one continuous column of color). You must be naturally tall and slender to pull off the looks in Photos A and B.

There are some colors which suit almost everyone because they have certain characteristics:

  • They contain a little of the opposite temperature in the mix
  • Are medium-light to medium-dark
  • Are neither very bright (clear) nor very dull (muted)


These universal colors appear along with each new season’s crop of trend colors and are widely available. Here are just a few:



Besides using lines and colours to enhance your appearance, you must also consider a garment’s silhouette. The wrong silhouette for your figure can make even the cutest garment look bad. The right silhouette, however, can make you look great.

There are 4 silhouettes:

  • Very fitted: best for slender, youthful women with firm bodies because tight, clingy fabrics highlight every lump and bump.
  • Semi fitted: flattering on all women
  • Boxy & stiff: falls straight and stiffly and disguises the body’s shape. Best for straight-figured women under 45 years of age. A boxy jacket is best when it sits above the low hipline and hides a midriff roll or tummy. A boxy jacket can appear matronly on women 45+ years old if the jacket is longer or in an out-of-style colour.
  • Boxy & soft: made of a flowing soft fabric that’s flattering for all ages and weights, particularly on mature, full-figured women.


What turns plain old clothes into a winning outfit? A focal point! A focal point is anything which attracts attention: smoky eyes, hair highlights, a piece of jewelry, a print, shoes, a handbag. It’s intended to draw the eye to it.

If you’re not certain your attire has a focal point or if your intended focal point is appropriate, try this experiment: get dressed and stand in front of a full-length mirror. Close your eyes and then open them. What’s the first thing you notice? That is your major focal point. Now ask yourself if you want people looking there. Yes? Then you’re probably doing something right. No? It’s time to find another focal point.
If you’re big in the hips or posterior, you’ll want your focal point to be above the waist. If you’re large busted and wish to minimize your appearance, you’ll want your focal point below the waist. This can be done by counterbalancing a body feature by adding a competing focal point in the right place. See in the photo below that the hemline stripes of the blue dress are balanced by the red cardigan, while the striped top and yellow cardigan attract attention away from the bright pants.

Be on your guard against fussy looks by using less than three focal points. A great subject to study for how to achieve the 3-focal point or less look is the Duchess of Cambridge.



Fabrics come in three basic surfaces which alter the appearance of the garment and manipulate the size of the wearer. They are:

Matte surfaces: absorb light rather than reflect it (wool, most cottons, linen). Tend to make the wearer appear slimmer.

Fabrics with sheen: reflect light, thus appears to “advance” slightly, but will not add significant bulk to your size unless the garment is clingy or tight.

Shiny/sparkly surfaces; highly reflect light, thus appear to “advanced” greatly and enlarges the area it covers. Soft, shiny fabrics can also highlight every bump and lump.



(Purple dress by IGIG, Leggings by Asos, Jacket by Free People, & Jacket by Bloomingdales)

Besides its surface qualities, fabric weight and texture can be used to your advantage. For example, did you know you can “lose” a few pounds by wearing the right fabrics? Thin, lightweight, smooth fabrics cling to the body and have little bulk and texture, which visually slims your silhouette.

Firm, smooth fabrics are figure flattering when they echo the silhouette of your body (i.e. a tailored suit or leggings) but won’t necessarily minimize your figure.

Sheer fabrics are great for camouflaging challenge areas, such as a full upper arm, tummy, or full behind.

If you want to “bulk up” certain areas of your body, wear thicker, heavyweight fabrics, especially those with a bulky texture (corduroy, crinkled, quilted, ruffled, or fur).


Every “body” is unique; therefore, what looks good on a celebrity or an acquaintance won’t necessarily flatter you. So before you try to copy a look you like, keep these 4 rules in mind for style success:

  1. Slimline tops and bottoms work well together for a long, lean look.
  2. A full skirt/pant is best worn with a slim top.
  3. A full top is best worn with a slim bottom.
  4. A full top and bottom usually doesn’t work well because they create a wide, shapeless look.


fashion for 50 year olds


By | Personal Style, Wardrobe Savvy | 2 Comments
Have you ever peered in a store window or watched in horror as you’ve seen the latest hot looks saunter down a catwalk and thought ‘they’ve gotta be kidding — how am I supposed to wear that?!
While, it’s true that fashion trends are primarily aimed at the young, looking current is important and very achievable at any age. I cringe when I hear women say things like ‘who cares, I’ve obviously passed my fashion used-by-date’, or ‘I don’t even bother trying any more no-one makes for a shape like mine anyway’

Over the years they have skillfully managed to avoid fashion stores and now wear the same comfortable clothes they’ve had for years.  No wonder they feel frumpy!   
Dressing in a current and stylish manner after fifty is easy and very achievable no matter what your budget or lifestyle is. And I promise you, you’ll feel younger for making the effort and others will definitely notice the trendier, more youthful you.

If you are still in the workforce having a current look will also help others see you as someone who still is up with what is going on and someone to respect and take seriously.    
So, how do you interpret fashion trends without looking like mutton dressed as lamb or feeling trussed up like a chook for thanksgiving dinner? 

#1: Reconcile with, and Adapt to The Body You Have Today

If you are over fifty your body will have changed and finding the right trends and adapting them will be a useless exercise if you do not intimately and accurately know the body you have TODAY. I’m always surprised at how many over fifty women do not know their body shape.  Maybe it’s a case that they’d rather not know – but please…that approach is only going to limit your life, opportunities and look.  I PROMISE YOU even if you do not like the body you have today and it looks like gravity and cellulite are winning you CAN LOOK FABULOUS, so stop putting it off. Go get into your knickers, stand in front of a full length mirror and take a good long loving look at your body from head to toe and work out what shape you are today.  This includes your horizontal body shape, bust size, weight, vertical ratio, and prominent features. If you need a little help My Private Stylist is here to help with our $25 professional photo assessment service.  

Color is the next thing to consider.  If you have had a color analysis in the past, then all you may need is an update if you hair is a different color or if more than 10 years have elapsed.  Everyone’s coloring changes overtime with most women getting paler and cooler with time.  Probably the most important thing about color is to avoid wearing dark colors near your face as they will make you appear paler and will throw shadows onto your face exaggerating any lines or dark areas.    

Betty White

#2: Assess Your Hair, Makeup and Eyewear.

When was the last time you updated your hairstyle and the way you apply your make-up?  If you’ve been doing both the same way for years it’s definitely time for a change. A new hairstyle and makeup are the quickest and most effective way to update your look and gain instant gratification.  In fact a good hairstyle can have similar results to a mini face-lift. This photo from a makeover by Carol Tuttle is a great example.



The second thing which needs evaluating is your makeup. What worked even a few years may not be doing you any favors today. You can “try on” make-up at Taaz to see what colors and types are appropriate for you.


The third thing you need to consider is your glasses. Out of date frames make you look older (and out of date). Get to your local eyewear store and take some time trying on various styles – especially ones you’d normally not choose. Who knows? You might discover a color or style that really makes you pop. Don’t limit yourself to one pair. Purchasing a couple different frames enables you to switch out your look, keeping it fresher longer.


#3: Get and Stay Active

You’ve already heard it said but it bears repeating: eat right and exercise! A healthy body and mind are crucial to maintaining a healthy appearance. Consult your physician on what exercises are right for you. They might be lifting weights, walking, core exercises, or short bursts of high intensity exercise.

#4: Determine Your Signature Style 

How do you determine your signature style? Make a list of adjectives which describe the look you’re going for. This includes the type of clothing, other people’s impression of you, your personality, and what you want to enhance/minimize. Take this list with you or memorize it when you go shopping. Any garment or accessory which doesn’t reflect the list should be disregarded no matter how cute it is. If it doesn’t match your list, you probably won’t be comfortable wearing it and it won’t get worn, which is a waste of money.

For example, my adjectives are Comfortable, Accessorized, and Tummy Hiding. You may come up with a longer list. What’s important is to know your body shape and colouring before you make this list.

#5: Know Before You Go

Before you hit the stores, hit the Internet to find out what’s available. Websites like Pretastyler are like online department stores and cover many price points. You can also go to their trends area to see what’s new and what’s on the way.

As you investigate, you’ll spot common threads (no pun intended), such as:

  • Themes: nautical, mod, ethnic, military, romantic
  • Shapes: strong angular shapes, round, straight
  • Fit: very fitted, soft and flowing
  • Colourred, blues, yellows
  • Fabrictweed, chiffon, anything textured
  • Patterns: floral, ethnic, checks, stripes
  • Surfaces: Matte, sheen, shine, sparkle
  • Accessories: types of bags, necklaces, shoes, eyewear
  • Makeup and Hair: short, long, up, down, casual, stylized

If you’re not happy with what you find, don’t worry. You’re only a season away from a new crop of styles. Your investigating will also show you which stores carry the styles you prefer, which makes shopping simpler.

Trends 2013

#6: Wardrobe Core Decisions

What are the best wardrobe decisions when thinking about fashion for 50 year olds? Trends are fleeting, but fashion is flexible. What does this mean? It means spend your money on high quality core, go-to items which flatter your shape, are simple in style, and can be mixed and matched with other items. For example, a solid blazer can be worn with jeans for a dressy casual look or with slacks or a pencil skirt for office attire. A crisp pink poplin shirt can add a light, feminine touch to tweed or give structure to a gauzy crinkled skirt or capris and sandals. If you aim for neutral colors in your core items, you can add colour through non-core seasonal garments and jewelry, scarves, shoes, and handbags, which are easily changeable through the seasons.
If current trends have you thinking there’s no way you can wear them despite how cute they look, remember this: clothing manufacturers and pattern companies know many customers do not have supermodel figures and adapt fashion trends into more figure-flattering styles.

#7: Lift & Support

As you age, gravity’s effect on your body becomes more noticeable. Thankfully, you can forego plastic surgery and liposuction and buy shapewear. Shapewear can be your new best friend. Imagine those bulges and jiggles smoothing away in this breathable, comfortable support. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll look and feel.

Speaking of support, if you haven’t been fitted for a bra in a while, get yourself to a store where a trained bra-fitter will help you find the right size and cup. The higher and perkier your girls are, the more youthful your figure will look.

#8: Avoid ‘Mutton Dressed as Lamb’

We’ve all seen it; women who cross the line from tasteful to tacky, chic to freak, vivacious to vulgar. Not all trends are appropriate for women over 50. They were never meant to be. A simple way to decide what’s hot and what’s not for your age is, “When in doubt, don’t.”
Here are a few suggestions of no-gos for 50+ women:

  • Bare midriffs
  • Mid thigh or higher skirts
  • Over the knee boots
  • Anything ultra tight
  • Low cut tops if you have a saggy chest
  • Sleeveless tops if you have saggy upper arms
  • G-string swimwear

Mutton front

The Fab Life

Once you embark on this new journey into 50+ style, you’ll be amazed at how you respond mentally and physically. Don’t be surprised when you discover a more confident you walking out the door with your head held high and vitality energizing you steps. You may be a grandma, but you look and act ready to conquer the world with the best fashion for 50 year olds.

Want more?  Click here.