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Monthly Archives: January 2016

ColorSense_part 2

COLOR SENSE: Part 2, Contrast

By | Colour, Coordination | 15 Comments

At some point, most of us come to the realization that the colors wear have an affect how we look, feel and how others react to us. Colors that compliment our skin, eye and hair color boost how healthy and vibrant we appear and can magically turn back the clock a few years by giving us a more youthful glow.

Following on from part 1, this time I want to talk about ‘Color Contrast.’

While a color analysis provides valuable information for selecting the colors that work best for you, there are other important aspects of color coordination within your range of best colors that is seldom taught.

To start, contrast is created when two or more colors are placed next to each other.

There are three contrast levels:

  • High: bright, loud, vivid contrast that makes you say ‘WOW.’
  • Medium: two or more colors where a mix of light and dark is seen.
  • Low: a mix of colors which are similar depth to each other and seem to blend together.

Contrast Circles

Each contrast level affects:

  • how well a garment reacts with the contrast between your hair, eyes and skin.
  • the perception of the size of the area over which the garment is being worn,
  • your image when wearing the contrast level.

Focus is naturally drawn to contrast. Once understood contrast can be used to:

  • highlight or hide an area of your body,
  • make a visual statement or blend in and observe,
  • be taken seriously, remembered and listen to, or be overlooked or discounted.

Each contrast level can be created in the following ways:

  • between colors within a pattern or print
  • between garments when layering
  • between a solid colored garment and your skin.

Contrast Grouping

Skin Deep

Also worth noting is that a person’s skin coloring dictated which colors are high, medium or low contrast. Notice Isha in the burnt orange jacket below (low contrast) and Katie in the oatmeal colored dress, also low contrast. If we placed the orange jacket on Katie, the contrast would be medium. Alternatively, if we swapped Katie’s oatmeal dress onto Isha it too would be medium contrast.

Constrast Comparison bewteen black and white skins

Top Row: Isha Sesay  Bottom Row: Katie Couric

High Contrast

High contrast is created when two colors combine to create a very bright combination – one that causes others to say or think ‘WOW.’ It may be a dark color with a bright color or two bright colors together i.e. purple and yellow.

High contrast is best worn by individuals who have a medium to high color contrast between their hair, skin and eyes, as well as bright looking eyes and skin (tends to be combination to oily). These color groups are:

  • Bright Winter / Cool, Clear,
  • Cool Winter / Cool and Clear,
  • Bright Spring / Warm, Clear and Bright.
  • Deep Winter / Cool, Clear and Dark

Women with a low contrast will find that high contrast clothing will be so bold that the garment, not they will be the center of attention – see >40% model below. 

Depending on the pattern and the colors used, the psychological effect this combination produces is one of power, authority, flamboyance, creativity or eccentricity. High contrast combinations are generally worn by confident, outgoing people and while the look will certainly get you noticed, it is not necessarily one that is approachable or people friendly. Often people will stand back and observe you for a while before deciding if you are someone they feel comfortable approaching. This contrast level is most effective at times when you need authority or to stand out and be noticed. Not recommended for job interviews or situations when you need to win people over to your idea or side of the argument.

High contrast exaggerates all pattern sizes, especially those that are medium to large.

High contrast also highlights the area to where it is applied; drawing attention to it and visually advancing the area making it appear larger. Therefore, it’s best worn over the smallest area of your body.

When layering, to be able to pull-off high contrast without blinding anyone keep the high contrast color less than 40% of the color seen – see <40% and >40% images below.

High Contrast Group


Medium Contrast

Medium contrast is created when various color depths are combined that are easy on the eye and harmonious.

It is a contrast level suits all individuals regardless of personal coloring or ethnicity.

The psychological effect this combination produces is one of confidence, professionalism, appropriateness. Medium contrast attracts attention in an approachable and people friendly manner. The look inspires others to notice, remember, listen to and taken you seriously. It is appropriate for all situations, locations, and occasions.

Patterns of medium contrast are best placed over the smallest parts of your body. When placed over an area that is large be sure to choose the opposing garment in dark color from the pattern as this will draw the attention away from the larger area and visually elongate and slim your silhouette.

Facebook1 (1)

Low Contrast

Low contrast is when colors of similar value (color depth) are combined. This contrast level is easy on the eye.

This contrast levels best suits individuals who have a similar contrast level between their skin, hair, and eyes plus a matte appearance to their skin.

These color groups are:

  • Soft Summer / Cool, Muted and Soft
  • Soft Autumn / Warm, Muted and Soft

On brighter individuals this combination may appear boring, drain them of color and be aging.

The psychological effect this combination produces is one of innocence, subtleness, and passivity. Low contrast while people friendly and elegant, is also almost invisible to others (especially in light combinations) and the wearer will need to either have already established their authority and position or else will struggle to be noticed, listened to or remembered. Give these facts low contrast is best left for after work hours.

Low contrast patterns are the easiest to wear even when the pattern size is large. This is because the subtly of the colors does little to increase apparent size. However, I would still recommend that if you wear the pattern on the largest part of your body that you select a color from the pattern for the opposing part of your body to ensure the sleekest silhouette.

Light, low contrast combinations are great for weekend wear and endows the wearer with casual elegance. Dark low contrast combinations create a evening elegance that is hard to beat.

Low Contrast Group2




If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

A picture of four sexy female butts over white background


By | Body Basics, Figure Flattery | 2 Comments

MainimageIf you’re the recipient of an hourglass figure you’re probably the envy of all your friends and, you’re a rarity with only 8% of women possessing your shape. Despite your fortune, it is not uncommon for you to experience the some of the same dressing issues that every other woman experiences. In addition, overtime hourglass shaped women tend to lose their waist as their vertebral spaces diminish and extra weight gain is distributed around their middle. At that time, an hourglass often morphs into a rectangle.

Distinguishing characteristics of the hourglass shape are:

  • Your bust and hips are similar in width from viewed from the front
  • You have a defined waist usually at least 9 inches smaller than your hips.
  • You’re endowed with a good sized bust and shapely hips

A good thing to bear in mind is that an hourglass figure doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a size 2. You can be a petite hourglass or a full-figured hourglass. What makes the hourglass body type is having the same width bust and hips with a defined waist.

Since this shape is the most desired in the Western world, there’s little to do except highlight the waist and coordinate well.

Here are the main aims to keep top of mind when dressing the hourglass:

Your upper body

  • Support your assets with a bra that has great support to make your bust area look amazing and lengthen your torso.
    ~ Adjust the straps to ensure the correct left after each wash and whenever possible hand wash your lingerie in cold water to maintain their shape and condition. Never place a bra in the dryer; always hang it up to dry.
  • V-shaped and scooped necklines are among your very best choices.
    ~If you are larger than a DD cup and prefer to downplay your size, avoid necklines that add width and/or highlight fullness i.e. boat and wide scoops.
  • For most business occasions avoid wearing necklines that show cleavage. A hint of cleavage is good, but showing off too much may make you look less than professional.
  • Sleeves that are set-in with high armholes and have tapered or slim sleeves will best highlight and keep your waist whittled.
  • Look for fitted garments in soft fabrics that will conform to your curves. Stiff fabrics and boxy styles are not for you, as these may make your bust area look out of proportion with your hips.
  • Keep your upper body uncluttered. Since your bust area is already generous, over-accessorizing, large prints or too much fru-fru can just be all too much.
  • When it comes to jackets those with defined shoulders, but not those that extend past your natural shoulderline, will highlight your waist and serve you best.

UpperBodySource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Your waist

Look for garments that highlight your waist via shape or design elements e.g. ruching, side tie, waist panel, etc. Wrap dresses especially amazing for this body type since it skims the curves while showing off the bust and waist. When you are wearing an oversized or shapeless top, add a belt to cinch your waist.

Hourglass waistSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Your lower body

  • You have a beautiful natural womanly figure, and that means skirts and dresses are always going to be your best bet when trying to impress. From short flippy A-lines to figure-hugging pencil skirts, you can go ahead and have fun. From fluid fabrics which skim your curves to body-hugging stretch fabrics that will give your look some varvoom, all the way through to an A-line with a cinched waist, you have all the possibilities on the side of your shape.
  • Balance is always the key; if you decide to wear a very full skirt ensure your top has enough width in or across the shoulders to maintain your hourglass shape.     
  • When wearing pants, your defined waist will benefit from a high waist especially when it sits on your natural waistline. 

pants and skirts for hourglass figuresSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Celebrity inspiration

As always, it’s always helpful to look to celebrities for style inspiration; sure we may not have the money, opportunities or stylists they do but we can learn and get direction for our own wardrobes from them. Remember too that they also make mistakes (or their stylist does) and we can learn from those as well.

Here are some of the celebrities who share your goddess shape: Kate Winslet, Dita Von Teese, Salma Hayek and Beyoncé Knowle. 

Hourglass celebritiesSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4 

Having an hourglass shape is pretty much like naturally hitting the jackpot. When showing off your bust, hips, and small waist, you can pretty much get away with anything. So embrace your curves and show them off while you have them and never forget that chicness should always be top of mind when dressing your shape.

Important: This information is only pertains to the hourglass body shape. Your body has many other characteristics that also need to be taken into account and can alter some of the recommendations. Prêtàstyler is the perfect tool for finding your perfect garments and making you look fabulous from top to toe.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

junge frau beim kleider aus ihrem schrank werfen


By | How To..., Wardrobe Savvy | 2 Comments

Every season it’s a good idea to perform a closet cleanout. 

Even if this job is a little distressing it is an important step in the process of reorganization. In every woman’s wardrobe there are clothes with invisible guilty tags attached to them.  They lie in wait to remind you of how much money you paid for them and how few times they have been worn.  Keeping these clothes will actually cost you money and they take up valuable space in your wardrobe.
Once to have committed to better buying habits, bad clothing purchases will become a thing of the past, so it’s time to forgive yourself and give them away.  
Before you start put your makeup on and style your hair.  This will make decisions easier if you need to try on your clothes.Take a close look at the items in your wardrobe and put each item into the following categories: 

AdobeStock_747363511. Items to Keep

  • Those that require no alterations to fit or proportion
  • Those that are in harmony with your personality
  • Those that are comfortable to wear and fit well
  • Those that flatter your figure and make you feel good
  • Those that are in good condition and repair

2. Items that Need Attention

  • Those with missing buttons, fallen hems, rips etc.
  • Those that are soiled
  • Those that require alteration
  • Those that require another item to be purchased before it can be worn

3. Items that Need to be Given Away or Discarded

  • Any item that is now too small or too large
  • Any items that no longer fit well
  • Any item that is out-of-date
  • Any item unworn for three years
  • Any item worn out, torn or stained
  • Any items that no longer fit your lifestyle needs
  • Any items that are an uncomplimentary style on you
  • Items in colours that are not complimentary to you
  • Anything you like in theory, but hate whenever you put them on
  • Dead underwear, the kind that has exhausted elastic and holes
  • Items that are not of the quality you now wear


4. With the Clothes that are Left

  • Remove those not in season and either store or pack them away until next season.  This will give you a clear view of what you have to wear and will allow the remaining clothes to breathe and not get crushed.
  • Remove clothes from wire hangers and replace them on hangers specifically designed for the type of garment.  These hangers will allow garments to hang in their natural lines and minimize the need to re-iron your clothes.

5. Make a Wardrobe Inventory of What You Have Left

  • Make an inventory. This will become the basis from which you will determine your clothing needs.  List each garment in your wardrobe, then add to the list all the items that it coordinates with including your accessories.
  • Try on all combinations – not all will look good once on the body.  If they need altering do not place them back in the wardrobe.  Instead bag them and place them in your car ready for when you next pass your alteration service.  
  • Place your clothing back in the wardrobe only after you have explored and noted all the possible combinations.
  • Take this opportunity to sift through your jewellery, belts and bags.  Remove any items broken, missing their partner or outdated.
  • Go back and examine your list.  Determine what items you need to buy in order to expand your wardrobe options. 


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP



By | Coordination, Line and Design, Understanding Prints & Patterns, Wardrobe Savvy | 13 Comments

This week I’m changing up my feature up a bit by focusing on a pattern – stripes to be precise.

They are almost as wearable as solid colors and a must-have in any woman’s wardrobe. Their versatility allows multiple ways to coordinate them with your favorite garments and depending which stripe you use you can easily create either a relaxed vibe or a serious edge to your look.

And I’m starting at the beginning because I’ve often found that when you start with the historical aspect of a garment, fabric or pattern, it often yields many insights that make sense of their use in the present, and why we perceived a certain way when we wear them.

Historically, women have borrowed or have been influenced by many menswear items. Stripes were originally a major part of men’s suiting and casual wear, but many important historical and fashion figures have influenced the way they have been used within fashion.

Vertical Stripes


The world famous London Savile Row is considered by many to be the capital of menswear tailoring. Hugh Holland, the managing director of Kilgour French Stanbury, one of the stores on Savile Row, states that the pin stripes we know and wear today originated from bank uniform around the 19th century. London, being a commerce capital during that time, was definitely the place where fashions emerged. A striped trouser paired with a casual morning coat was the uniform of the financiers of the 19th century. More interestingly, each bank had a specific type of stripe so  their brand and employees could be easily identified.

History PinstripeSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

No one is really quite sure of the exact starting point when the vertical pin stripe was introduced to the public. However, there is another popular theory that the pinstripe came about in the glitzy decade of the 1920s where fashion was such a huge part of everyday culture and lifestyle. Inspired by the boating outfits from the late 1800s, the 20s showed off pin stripes in a fun and fashionable way. Pre-Gatsby era, formalwear was quite subdued so more casual suits came forward as a way to make menswear more playful and vibrant. Take a look at vintage photos of men in pin stripes suits and you’ll start to really understand what makes these vertical pin stripes so wearable and chic. The thinness of the stripe makes it work appropriate, but you can just as easily jazz up vertical stripes with bolder accessories and styling. Pin stripes wouldn’t be the first trend that women have adopted into their own fashion realm and it certainly won’t be the last, since fashion is always changing and borrowing inspiration from the opposite gender. Here are some perfect examples of women’s tailored suits, from vintage to modern:

women pinstripe1Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

If you want to look toward current trends, bold and graphic stripes are the vertical stripe look of the moment. While historically, pin stripes are the reigning kind of vertical stripes, current trends and style have been dictating more graphic, statement-making large vertical stripes.

How They’re Perceived

With a history associated with professional endeavors and formal events, the vertical stripe is seen as powerful, professional and authoritative. Variations of the stripe include pencil and chalk with each gaining their name from the width of the line created by the pin, pencil or piece of chalk. The narrower the stripe, closer together and more classic the stripe color, the more formal the impression they will create. If you are seeking the most professional look, opt for stripes in color pairings of neutral hues like black, navy, and white.

women in pinstripesSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5

One last vertical stripe worth mentioning is the gangster stripe. Stereotyped more from movie myth than truth, the fact remains that if you wear it, you run the risk of being seen as theatrically contrived than stylish.

Gangster Stripes

Visual Effects and Styling Tips

It’s virtually a no-brainer that vertical stripes are slimming. The vertical line naturally encourages the eye to travel up and down elongating and visually slimming the area. Here are some more vertical features you may want to look for if you want to increase the slimming effect:

  • One central stripe as a focal point of the garment
  • Many thin stripes close together
  • Low color contrast in between the stripes
  • Vertical stripes worn over your largest area
  • Long length vertical garments
  • Don’t wear vertical stripes over areas where you are curvy as the stripes will stretch out of shape.

Try to avoid wearing one prominent stripe to the side if you are wide, as this can make you look wider. A central stripe is best when you wish to look taller or slimmer. When opting for vertical striped pants, avoid fabrics that stretch as this will warp, hug, and expand over your fullest areas.

To read more about styling with vertical design lines see: The Vertical Advantage

Wearing vertical stripesSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4 

Horizontal Stripes


Dis you know that during medieval times, you could get sent to prison for simply wearing striped clothing? It’s true. Stripes were for prisoners, and well, evil people. We, along with the fashion industry, have definitely evolved from that belief. Now, stripes have moved on from their negative medieval connotations and have become one of the most coveted patterns for fashion.

From the 1800s onwards, horizontal stripes became one of the fashion staples that we know and love today. Queen Victoria dressed her son Prince Albert in a striped sailor suit aboard the Royal Yacht, and from then on stripes were firmly in the public eye. The 19th century then saw the popularity of the horizontally striped Breton shirt worn by French navy men. Coco Chanel, however, gets the ultimate credit for bringing horizontal stripes into the 20th century when she sold it from her store. From then on, pop culture and fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn, Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, and Andy Warhol further popularized the striped Breton Shirt in the following decades. Nowadays, modern fashion icons like Kate Moss, Emma Stone, and Alexa Chung are huge fans of stripes, and are often photographed wearing this eponymous pattern and styling it in different ways.

History of Horizontal StripesSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5  

How They’re Perceived

Definitely more laid-back than vertical stripes, horizontal stripes are the more casual and sporty of the two kinds of stripes. For business wear they are best left for your business casual days.

One of the most famous and frequent fashion comebacks is the Breton top and it can be relied on to give your look a chic, nautical image. While these stripes do have a definite sporty or casual stereotype there’s no need to feel trapped into the looks as there are many ways to dress the stripes up through the use of tailoring, color, sheen and shine, texture and accessories. 

CasualstripesSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4


Glam up Your Horizontal Stripes Ideas

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3Image 4Image 5  

Visual Effects and Styling Tips

Horizontal stripes can be a bit tricky, but don’t listen to people that say they aren’t flattering. Pulling off a pattern is all about styling and finding the right fit for your body and personal style. With the right elements, horizontal stripes can even be, dare I say it, slimming. Here are some tips to make sure that horizontal stripes slim you down:

  • Look for garments with many thin stripes close together
  • Choose low to medium color contrast between the stripes. Think monochromatic like navy and midnight blue stripes or red and maroon stripes
  • Ensure the garment is longer than it is wide (the middle photo below is too short).
  • For pants and skirts look for sturdier fabrics with some elasticity.
  • Wear the horizontal stripe over your smallest area.
  • Consider your body type. Full figured women can get away with slightly wider stripes while petites should opt for thinner lines.
  • Be mindful of the garment silhouette a striped item comes in.

Horizontal Styling Tips

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

To read more about styling with vertical design lines see: Horizontal Help.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP



By | Figure Flattery | 24 Comments

Everyone has a problem area! No matter your age, size or shape most women have some area they’d rather hide and the tummy is probably the most common trouble spot there is!  Let’s face it, not many of us hit the gym all day every day, to look as insanely toned as Jillian Michaels. A six pack is a bit out of reach for most of us, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent ways to look great regardless. Here’s my take on how to hide a tummy.

Firm-up your middle

Love fitted dresses? That’s OK as long as you’re realistic about the results and wise about your foundation. If your middle is a little wobbly then shapewear will be your best friend; it will boost your confidence, smooth and firm your middle. After all, most celebs swear by some kind of Spanx to look sucked and red carpet ready, so we can certainly follow their lead.

When scouting the stores for a little-fitted number keep in mind that thin, stretchy fabrics may cling to you in the wrong areas, no matter what you do. More structured dresses and sturdier fabrics will hold their shape better. Also, look at how the dress drapes; fitted wrap dresses are excellent choices for most women.

Garments with ruching are also perfect for concealing torso-to-knee trouble spots, while blouson tops often drape softly on top of a tummy. Other fabrics to avoid are those with sheen or shine, they have the power to highlight your body’s topography, so skip satin and silk for matt fabrics.


Whittle your waist

A bit of a tummy shouldn’t keep you from accentuating the smallest part of your body.

You’ll always look slimmer when you reveal some shape so look for dresses that nip in above your tummy even as far up as under your bust. A medium-wide to wide belt can also be employed to control any wobbles.

Peplums are also very chic and flattering when they drape close to your body. They nip you in just the right area, and flare out to enhance or even create an hourglass shape. Balance out a fuller top with a fitted bottom to keep from looking bunched up in the middle.

High waists1Peplum and sweater2

Cover up without over-layering

Single breasted jackets and vests that nip in at the waist are not only feminine but insanely flattering. Left open they conceal your middle while creating a strong elongating line up the center of your body – better still add a long scarf to flow playful down the front.  

A cardigan is totally fab, especially when accessorized with a statement necklace or pendant and slim line pant or skirt. Problems will only occur if you pile on extra layers. Instead, keep cozy with high quality, thin thermal underwear.

Jewellery and accessories are also a great way to draw attention away from your tummy. Pile on some colourful arm candy, or throw a vivid satchel over your shoulder. No one will be looking at your tummy now! An oblong scarf or long pendant necklaces really help in visually elongating you as well

Open Jacket1

Color play

Not only is wearing a monochromatic ensemble effortlessly cool, but it also helps you to appear longer and leaner. Think about how nude heels work: they trick the eyes into thinking you’re leggy even if you’re  only 5’1” (155 cm). Wearing same-color separates is glam and trendy, but also creates an optical illusion to slim you from top to toe.

Another way to attract eyes away from your tummy area is to trick them with a print that keeps the eye moving. Likewise, an eye-catching print in a loose blouse is a winner. No one will pay attention to what’s under your fabulous blouse!

Mono to prints1

Acknowledgements: Girl with Curves – one of my favorite plus size blogs: https://girlwithcurves.com/ 



If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP