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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Dry Cleaners, Dry Cleaning, Fashion Tips, Style Tips, Caring for your clothes, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training


By | Wardrobe Savvy | 7 Comments

If you love quality clothing, then dry cleaning is a necessary evil that will ensure your clothes last and maintain their beauty. 

Recently, I chatted with John Murphy, joint owner of Penguin Dry Cleaners which has been family owned for 69 years and is renown for the care they take and the minor miracles they achieve.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and when it comes to dry cleaning, a little knowledge can greatly improve your dry cleaning results, especially if there’s a stain involved.

So here are 10 things John wants you to know on behalf of his colleagues:

1. Honesty is the best policy.

When your dry cleaner asks you where that stain came from, PLEASE TELL THE TRUTH. John could not emphasize this enough. Whether it’s blood, food, wine, or whatever, it won’t help your cause and it won’t help your dry cleaner if you’re not upfront about where that stain came from. Apparently, people lie about stains a lot. However embarrassing your reason may be, it’s probably not worth ruining your favorite dress.


2. The plastic bag is not meant for long-term storage or use. 

While it might be tempting to just stick your dry cleaning at the back of your closet, resist the urge. The plastic bag that’s used to cover your clothing is only meant to protect your clothing from stains and damage while being transported from the store to your home. These plastic bags aren’t meant to sit in a closet for prolonged time periods. In fact, the plastic will accumulate moisture and eventually damage the garment.


3. Just because it “looks” clean, doesn’t mean it is. 

Sometimes when we take off our clothes at the end of the day, we give each item the once-over and if we assume it’s clean we put it back in the closet.

This is a no-no. According to the John, perspiration and the natural oils within your body will attract insects and/or moths. Also, these seemingly invisible stains caused by our body secretions can and will oxidize over time and turn into stains. So, every few wears, have the item cleaned and definitely do not store it away until you’ve had it cleaned or laundered. 


4. Time is not on your side when it comes to stains 

Whenever you take a spill, get your clothes to the dry cleaners STAT. Time is of the essence when it comes to stain removal. Simple stains can get stubborn when it is given time to oxidize. Oxidizing is when the chemicals within the stain react with oxygen. When this process occurs, stains become set within the fabric and become hard to remove. It might be easy to just forget about stains but trust us when these stains yellow and permanently damage, you’ll be wishing you took that 10-minute drive to drop it off at your neighborhood cleaners.


 5. On that note, trust the pros with stains.

Especially when it comes to dry clean only fabrics, it’s a bad idea to attempt some DIY stain removal. However simple you think the stain is; it’s best for you and your clothing to send the item to a professional cleaner. DIY stain removers and/or home stain treatments may just end up ruining your clothes, and by the time you take it to the cleaners, there’s no turning back. Many home remedies often end up discoloring the fabric.


6. Inspect your clothing carefully after you wear them.

Even when you think you’re survived that birthday party stain-free, it is worth the time and effort to inspect your garment prior to either storing it or putting it in the wash. Sometimes, we inadvertently stain our garments, or at times, we spill a little something on it and forget at the end of the day. Check and double-check your clothing so that you don’t get surprised with a yellowing mark the next time you take it out of the closet.


7. Return the wire hangers, don’t use them

Professional cleaners use wire hangers because they’re inexpensive and are only designed to carry your clothes from pickup to closet. When you arrive home, for your clothes sake, transfer them out of the plastic and onto proper hangers. Wire hangers aren’t designed to hold heavy garments like coats and can damage sweaters and more delicate fabrics.  I’m sure you’ve witnessed the ugly dents they can leave in the shoulders of garments.

Hangers and shoulders
Source: Image 1, Image 2

8. Light exposure can cause damage too, just like moisture. 

Everyone is mindful of moisture when storing clothes, but you don’t normally consider light as a damaging factor to clothing. Prolonged exposure to light can discolor the fabric of your clothes, so make sure you don’t leave that closet light on or store your clothes on a rack near an area that gets a lot of sunlight.

A person testimony to this, is several years ago I drove 10 hours in the middle of Summer to a wedding with my 100% silk dress hanging on the hook above the window of the rear passenger door. When I arrived and put the dress on I found that the area of the dress that had been facing the outside was badly faded and ruining the dress – which I had no option but to wear.

Light Damage

9. Don’t dry clean clothing sets separately.

We understand that when you wear separates, it doesn’t wear or stain equally. But you shouldn’t send your skirt or slacks to the cleaners without sending the matching blazer, too. This may seem counter-intuitive, but when you only clean one piece out of the set, the one that gets dry-cleaned more changes color over time then the set won’t match anymore.


10. Reinforce or cover buttons.

Loose buttons can get caught in the machines. If you don’t have spare buttons for your garment, replacing a lost one can be a nuisance so, if you want to save yourself time and money, check your clothes for loose closures before even heading to the cleaners and repair it yourself. If you have a great relationship with your cleaners, they may even offer to do this minor mending for free. If you lack sewing skills, don’t fret. Most dry-cleaning shops offer a great price of small fixes like this one. 

Likewise, if you have delicate or special buttons John suggests you remove them before dry-cleaning, or at the very least cover them snugly with foil.  His company has special covers they use for special buttons. 

Cover or mend buttons
Source: Image 1, Image 2

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



By | Wardrobe Savvy, Wearing Classics | 4 Comments

Comfortable and highly practical, pants are worn by almost all women.

Within most corporate environments tailored pants are now accepted business wear for women and we owe it all to Amelia Bloomer. In 1850, this outspoken and brave feminist encouraged women to follow her lead and abandon their horsehair crinolines and voluminous skirts in favor of more practical knee-length trousers. As expected, she was savagely criticized but by 1890 women had taken up her suggestion with gusto thanks to the advent of bicycle riding becoming an acceptable leisure activity for women.

However, pants can also be one of the most difficult garments for women to find a flattering fit and style in. The female form is more complicated than a male’s having many variations in hip and bottom curve and position, causing finding the right style often a matter of trial and error if you are not aimed with knowledge of what will suit your shape.

Pants and trousers have five important fit criteria:

  1.  A comfortable waist.
  2.  A rise length that is right for your torso and butt depth.
  3.  A length suitable for the wearer’s leg length and shoe.
  4.  The correct width for the wearer’s leg length, height and shoe.
  5.  Sufficient room to move

Key Elements

Signature Features

  • A great style: pants or trousers made with sound design principles and the female form in mind.
  • A great cut: one that is not too tight or shaped to allow the pant/trouser to fit smoothly over the hips and fall neatly to the floor.
  • Good quality fabric: the most classic being, wool, linen and cotton blends.

Pleats or Flat Front?

Without a doubt, flat front pants flatter more women than pleated trousers ever will. While trousers provide extra comfort and freedom of movement it’s at the price of extra bulk that sits in the hip and thigh region.

The most flattering trousers have the following style elements:

  • A single front pleat
  • Double back dart
  • Knife edge crease down the front
  • Side pockets that lay flat and closed

When considering pleats, the main thing to keep in mind is their direction. Inward facing pleats are best for slender to underweight women as they have a tendency to add bulk top the hips and attract attention toward the stomach. Outward facing pleats attract attention away from the stomach while still being flattering to larger hiplines. This advice also is true for skirt and dress pleats.

Pants (no pleats/flat fronted) while being the more flattering of the two choices must fit perfectly as they do not have the extra fabric to hide any fit issues.

Pant group


Fashion trends alter the length and width of pants constantly however, few of us have a classic model’s figure and need to take care that we do not get hooked into wearing a style just because it’s the ‘in’ thing.

As a general rule, you can assume that the wider the pants the shorter and heavier you will appear and it’s always more flattering not to hem anything at the widest area of any part of your body – in this case, your thighs or calf. The adverse effect can be countered by adding high heels to add length to the legs and elongate the overall height to the wearer. High heels will also elevate the look to ‘dressy’.

Pant WidthSource


Each season designers introduce new lengths. No matter what’s ‘in’ only adopt styles that will enhance and flatter your figure. 

Long pants work for all women and all heights while cropped styles need to be slimline or straight to flatter most women. Very few women can successfully carry off wide, short pants regardless of their ‘in-fashion’ status. This is especially true if the wearer has short or heavy legs.

The classic hem length for long pants or trousers is where the upper of the shoe meets the heel. One way to get the most versatility out of long pants is to hem them so they just touch the floor when you are barefooted. This length will then work with low and medium height heels.

For those blessed with long slender legs the world is your oyster as almost any length and width will work for you. For the rest of us, long pants need to be worn at least to the point where our shoe upper meets the heel. Longer is even better when teamed with high heels and will dramatically elongate and slim your legs.

Team width and length and you’ll find the best pants for women who are not blessed with height and/or long legs are widths that are skinny to straight and those that are hemmed at the top of the heel or longer. Cropped wide leg pants are very hard to pull-off successfully.


Pattern, Texture and Surface Interest

Wide checks or plaids, loud patterns, and florals all need to be approached with caution and the same applies to texture.

Fine and/or tight, matte weaves create a smooth texture and are very flattering while pants and trousers made out of fabrics such as wide corduroy, tweed, chintz or satin are best left to slender and thin women.

Excessive texture and shine will always increase the perceived weight of the wearer and should be therefore worn with caution by those who are anything more than moderately over their ideal weight.

Most women will look their best in solid colored, matte, medium-dark to dark pants and/or those that have subtle patterns.



The Trouser Suit

Wearing a trouser suit signals contemporary thinking and in the right shape, and with the right attitude, is far sexier and slimming than a skirt suit. This may be one reason why it was taboo in so many business environments for such a long time. A well-fitting trouser suit in an understated, current style and color will serve you faithfully for years. They’re a far cry from the traditional male suit and the pinstripe suits when in fashion have an appealing and professional appearance while also being incredibly slimming.

Perfect Fit

  • Pleats should lay flat.
  • All closures, pockets, and vents should lay flat.
  • Pant legs should not curve under the buttocks. When viewed sideways the trouser leg should fall vertically from the buttocks to the floor.
  • Lapels should lay flat against the chest.
  • You should be able to pinch 2.5 – 4 cm (1”1½”) of double fabric at your hip-line.
  • Panty lines should not be visible.
  • There should be enough waistband allowance for two fingers to be inserted into the waistband.
  • If the pants have belt loops a belt is required to complete the look.

Key Points to Remember

  • Legs can be made to appear longer and leaner by removing the cuffs from trousers.
  • When purchasing ready-made pants and trousers, assume that you’ll need some form of alteration for a perfect fit.
  • It’s essential to get the crotch depth right. Pants that are excessively baggy or tight in the crotch look hideous!
  • Correct fitting underwear is a must. A visible panty line will ruin even the most expensive outfit’s appearance.
  • Zippers always sit best when placed in the centre back or front. Side zippers do not suit women with a rounded hipline.
  • Iron pleats in wool pants with an ironing cloth to prevent shine.
  • Do not iron creases in jeans or linen pants. In jeans it’s frumpy, and the fibres in linen pants are too fragile to be continually creased.
  • Lined pants give the most flattering appearance as they cause the pant to fall more smoothly over curves and make the pants last a lot longer.
  • To dress up your pants add a shoe with a medium-high to high heel and pointed toe.
  • Wear jeans, leggings, ski pants or jodhpurs with low heels or boots.
  • The material that you choose for your belt and shoes will either dress-up or dress-down your pants. Plaited or punched leather, canvas or cloth will give you a casual look while smooth or shiny leather with a metal buckle will give you a dressed-up look.
  • To hem pants that will be suitable to wear with flat and low heels have the hem pinned at floor level when you are standing in bare feet.

Related Features


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



By | Accessorizing, Wardrobe Savvy | 4 Comments

Can I have a collective cheer?

Flats have finally entered the world of high fashion, in fact, runways the world over have been alight with stylish flats worn in a number of ways.

So, now that flats have become trendy, and possibly even the “it” shoe of the season, there’s lots of style inspiration out there for you to take cues from. Irrespective if you’re petite or full-figured, flats can work wonders for your shape and size. Whether you like more classic, comfy or edgy styles, there’s a pair of flats that can complement and enhance your personal style and preferences.

When fashion and function meet comfort, what more could a girl ask for? Even if you’re a devoted lover of heels, consider this feature proof that it’s time to diversify your shoe game.

Here are 8 ways to make flats work for your figure and increase your style acumen too:

Point toe flats rock

If there’s one takeaway from this article, it’s this: pointed toe shoes rock. Not only are they a classic shoe shape, pointed toe flats are having a major sartorial comeback at the moment. Another added bonus to pointed toe flats is that it’s pretty easy to transition it from day to night. Pointed toe flats elongate your legs, and by extension your legs.

Pointed toe shoes have a reputation for being uncomfortable but following these two suggestions will help.

  • Look for pointed flats with a false front. “A pointy-toe shoe with an area that is much longer than your toes has a false front. It keeps your toes from being squished,
  • Make sure the toe box – the area across the ball of your foot is wide enough to ensure comfort.

Point Toe FlatsSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Match the details of your shoe with your body type.

Like most styling tips, proportion is key. If you’re petite, flats with daintier detailing such as lace-up details and delicate floral embellishment will suit you best.

If you have a fuller figure, steer clear of slight/delicate details that may make your ankles appear larger and can look disproportionate with your frame. Instead, opt for bold features such as studs.

If your legs are heavy or short avoid ankle straps unless they are flesh colored, not too thick and definitely not too tight. 

Flat Shoes Detailing and WeightSource

Test for comfort – adapt or move on

If a shoe is not wearable for at least several hours what the point – right? It’s important to know how to assess a flat shoe for its wearability.

  • Try to push in the area around the heel. If the heel collapses enough to touch the insole, the shoe will not be supportive.”
  • Hold each end of a shoe and try to twist it. If the shoe bends too much, it won’t be supportive.
  • Look for flats with a little bit of a heel if you have high arches. Heels provide relief from all types of foot pain and I always add into flat shoes an orthaheel insert to improve comfort.
  • Shoes with leather or rubber soles provide maximum shock absorption making walking long distances easier.
  • Shoes with leather or suede insoles are breathable and pliable and help prevent chafing and blistering because they mold to the feet.
  • Avoid slippage and cuts on your heel by finding a shoe with a back that fits snugly and holds your foot securely.

Show off your feet.

To reveal more of your foot is always more flattering since it gives that visual illusion of a longer leg. So sandals, toe posts and D’orsay (image 2 below) styles are always wise choices.

Open FlatsSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Expose your ankle when wearing flats with pants.

Since flats do not give you the height boost of heels, showing off those ankles are a great way to add some sexy into your ensemble. This is especially true when you wear flats with pants. Roll up those cuffs, and flaunt those fashion-forward flats.

expose the ankleSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

Pairing hemlines.

The quickest way to tone down an uber sexy LBD or an ultra short mini: wear flats with it. Heels and high hemlines can be a little bit too much, and too much sexy in one outfit does not equal chic. So tip the style scales in your favor when you sport your sexiest pieces with a pair of flats.

On the other hand, flat shoes with longer hemlines give a relaxed vibe that can make any day feel like the weekend.

minis and midis

Source: Top Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3
Bottom Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Formality and image

Given the comfort of flats, it’s easy to want to wear them all the time and it’s totally possible if you keep a few image guidelines in mind. Many of these work in tandem with each other.

Things that impact a flat’s formality:

  • Upper Material: Leather is the most formal to canvas being the least. Skins such as faux leopard are sexy/exotic, silks are elegant and dressy. Fabric like spots are fun.
  • Upper Structure: the more firm or structured the upper the more formal the look.
  • Sole: The thinner the sole the more formal the image. Thick soles are typically considered fashionable or casual depending on other aspects of the shoe.
  • Surface: Matte is casual, sheen adds polish and shine ups the image to formal. Metallic and sequins add glamor.
  • Toe shape: the more pointy the more dressy and sharp the look down to rounded toes which are seen as casual, comfortable and even a little matronly.
  • Coverage: the more the foot is covered the more formal the shoe tends to be. 
  • Embellishments: studs add a masculine/biker image, bows are feminine, gemstone are fun or add evening glam, pom,poms are fun and youthful etc 
  • Color: black is the most formal of all colors for shoes while bright colors are the most casual.  White adds a touch of summer, though can be worn in winter too.

Flat Image

Menswear-inspired flats can be tricky to pull off.

Tassel details, loafer styles, and monk straps spell instant chic for your looks. But be weary of these styles since they tend to cut you off at the ankle. Reserve these styles of colder climes. Wear with monochromatic tights if you’re petite. You can get away with playing with sock print and textures if you have longer and leaner legs.

Mens Style Flats

Want More? Dress Like a Parisian: How to Wear Flats.

Related Features: Well Heeled Part 1, Well Heeled Part 2


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