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vertical fashion trend

THE VERTICLE ADVANTAGE: how to dress slimmer

By | Body Basics, Figure Flattery, Line and Design | 4 Comments

Imagine walking into a room or onstage and your audience sees you as strong professional woman, maybe one who’s even taller and more slender than you really are. How is this done? Through vertical design.

What is vertical design? It is clothing design elements which draws the eye up and down. The more vertical elements you use, the greater the elongating, slimming effect. For each element used, you can appear almost 4.5 pounds (2kg) thinner! This is the key for how to dress slimmer.

Vertical design is achieved through garments via:

  • shape:  straight and pencil skirts, straight and tapered pants, straight and tapered jackets/tops
  • silhouette: semi- to very fitted (boxy and soft somewhat)
  • structure: darts, panels, pleats, vertical folds, iron creases, seams
  • embellishments: vertical lace paneling, pin tucks, ruffles
  • fabricvertical patterns and prints; fluid fabrics which follow curves.
  • closures: zippers, buttons, lace-up
  • accessories: oblong scarves, pendants, drop and hoop earrings, open vamp shoes, high heels and/or pointy toe shoes, nude shoes, hosiery that blends into hemline and shoes
  • focal points: statement necklaces, medium to large or colorful earrings, applique design, embellished neckline/collar, scarf
  • length: the longer the garment, the more vertical power
  • grooming: long, short, straight hair; hair which stands up on top

Pictured are several outfits using vertical elements. Can you guess what they are (answers are at the end of the feature)?




Pants vs Skirts

Pants elongate the legs from waist to hem, which is usually at the ankle (J). Skirts vary more, going from waist to around the knee, leaving the legs exposed (K). The shorter the pants or the wider the skirt, the less elongating and slimming effect. Why? Because where the legs are exposed is usually an area of colour contrast that horizontally divides the length of the body (L). If hosiery and/or shoes/boots are worn in a similar contrast level (depth and colour) to the hemline colour, the vertical influence is maintained.


Run a Line

The most effective vertical line is one that runs down the center of your torso or limb (a seam, contrast stitching, zipper, row of buttons). However, the line’s position and width can negatively impact the elongating effect. This is definitely worth considering in light of how to dress slimmer.

Dress O’s wide vertical central panel, which is lighter than the sides, adds width to the torso. The wide central vertical seam in dress P divides the torso in two equal halves; however, the purple side is shinier, which makes it appear slightly wide than its darker matte counterpart. With sweater Q, the wider panel makes the torso appear wide regardless of the seam (vertical line). Sweater R is slimming due to the vertical seam being on the center of the torso.

A crease down the center of a pants is slimming. Pairing such with pointy toe high heel shoes looks even better.

Color in the Lines

Color coordinating your outfits can achieve an elongated look, either with an inner or outer line.

For example, a solid color single breasted jacket left open and paired with pants of the same or similar color creates an uninterrupted appearance from shoulder to pants hemline. Worn with a bright/light top and you create an outer vertical line (S). The darker colour is slimming because it recedes; a lighter/brighter colour advances, drawing the eye to the centre.

For variety, wear pants and a top of the same colour along with a solid colour single breasted jacket or cardigan in a different colour. This creates an inner vertical line (T). A light/bright jacket or cardigan should be avoided by those who are large above the waist because it will cause the upper body to appear wider.

Focal Feature

Even the best-laid lines of style and trends can be undone if you add a focal point which minimizes the vertical effect. For example, wear a low-placed focal point (colourful shoes, border on skirt) and you draw the eye downward, which in turn ruins the illusion of slimness and height. However, all you have to do is wear something eye-catching up high as a counterbalance (an accessory, statement jewelry, make-up or hairstyle) to move the eye upward. Ta-da!


Beware the Stretchy Stripe

While it’s well-known that vertical stripes elongate your appearance, some fabrics undo all the good of those stripes. Stretchy, clingy fabrics with vertical stripes can stretch out of shape where you are widest and end up accentuating what you want to camouflage. Stick with non-stretchy fabrics and a semi-fitted silhouette for stripe success.

Toe the Line

Wow! Who knew design lines exerted so much influence over how people perceive your physical appearance? Did you know it also affects them psychologically? It’s true. Tall is associated with strong (think trees, skyscrapers, and pro basketball players). Someone with “upright” morals is viewed as having strong beliefs. So it’s natural to view someone who walks tall or has an elongated appearance to be some kind of authority.

You can use vertical design to as part of your plan for how to dress slimmer. If you want to appear more professional, more authoritative (and slimmer and taller), be sure to incorporate vertical elements. After all, pinstripes for menswear hasn’t lost its pro touch!


A: 1. pintucks in shirt, 2. skinny pants, 3. high focal point with button on collar
B: 1. one colour outfit, 2. raglan neckline drawing attention upwards, 3. embellished collar, 4. pointy toe shoes.
C: 1. outer vertical colour flow, 2 .strong focal point blouse
D: 1. semi fitted tubular dress, 2. vertical pattern, 3. pointy toe shoes
E: 1. solid coloured dark dress 2. eyes up focal point – white shirt, 3. pointy toe shoes.
F: 1. solid coloured dress
G: 1. knee high boots, 2. striped coat, 3. focal point on shoulders and at neck, 4. high heels, 5. pointy toe shoes.
H: 1. gored skirt, 2. high waistband on skirt, 3. high focal point – leopard blouse
I: 1. vertical pattern in skirt, 2. pointed toe shoes

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.

style mistakes to avoid

50 FASHION FLUBS & STYLE SAVES: How to avoid panty lines, Wardrobe Malfunctions and More

By | Wardrobe Savvy | No Comments

Is there anything more embarrassing or aggravating than perspiration marks, runs in hosiery, or the ill-timed button popping off? As much as we love our clothes, sometimes they won’t behave and instead of sailing with style, we crash and burn in a clothing catastrophe. Read on to learn how to avoid panty lines, wardrobe malfunctions, and more embarrassing situations.

While not all annoyances can be avoided, most can be prevented or fixed with a little help and ingenuity. The following tips are presented to make your clothing life more attractive and less embarrassing.


Static Cling: Apply lotion to legs back and front, attach a safety pin to the inside hem of the skirt, or use a product like Statique spray.

Lint or Pet Hair: Wrap tape around your fingers (sticky side up) and pat your clothes.

Pills on Sweaters: Gently run a pumice stone over pills or use a fabric shaver.

Saggy Boobs: Adjust your bra strap length. If it doesn’t work, it’s time to go bra shopping.



Bra Strap Falling Off Shoulders: Unclip each strap at the back, lengthen to their longest length, re-clip to the opposite side to form an X. Put on bra and adjust straps for comfort.


Unwanted Colour on Clothes: Use Dylon’s Runaway Colour Catcher (UK and AU – warning: it smells like rotten eggs) or Rit Color Remover (US).

Bleach Spots or Faded Areas: Use a permanent colour marker of the same colour to fill in the spot.

Scuffs on Leather Shoes: Erase scuff with the inside of a banana peel and buff with a paper towel.

Snags and Loose Threads: Use a snag tool such as the Snag needle to pull the snag through to the other side (these are available online if your local fabric store doesn’t carry them). Secure short snags with a dab of clear nail polish.


Tight Clip-On Earrings: Adjust using an earring key(available online).


How to avoid Panty Lines: There are a number of solutions for how to avoid panty lines:

  • Wear ultra-thin microfiber panties, boy leg panties, boxers, or a thong
  • Wear a liner in your hosiery and go commando
  • Avoid skin-tight clothing – it’s okay to buy the next size up
  • Invest in shapewear
  • Tone your bottom by cutting off control top pantyhose at the ankles and wear under trousers without panties

Bulging Waist from Tight Pantyhose: Clip small Vs in the waistband (as many as needed).

Muffin Top from Jeans: Wear higher waist styles.

muffin top

Crooked Jean Zipper: Turn jeans inside-out and cut the pocket where it attaches into the zipper edge. The pocket shouldn’t have a hole in it since you will be cutting fabric which is after the pocket seam. The result is about 2cm (3/4”) of extra room.

Tight Shoes: Placing a bag of water in each shoe (tilted toe down) and leave in the freezer overnight.

Foundation on Clothes:

  • Powder foundation – gently brush off excess powder but DO NOT RUB. Mix white vinegar with water to remove the stain. Test it on an inconspicuous spot first for colourfastness
  • Liquid or Cream Foundation – apply shaving cream to remove oil-free foundation. Mix in a dab of alcohol for tough stains. Wash garment immediately.

Chewing Gum on Clothes:

  • Apply an ice cube to gum or place garment in a plastic bag in the freezer for a few hours to harden the gum.
  • Scrape off the gum with a dull blade. Refreeze if necessary to get it all out.
  • Once the gum is removed, treat the remaining spot with an equal mixture of liquid dishwashing soap and white distilled vinegar (washable garments only). Rub in gently and wash the garment as usual.
  • Check the stain before drying and retreat if necessary.
  • Rub on a dab of petroleum jelly if the gum is old and dry. Treat fabric to remove the grease (see above mixture).
  • If the garment is dry clean only, use the freezing technique to remove the gum and take it to your dry cleaner. If using a home dry cleaning kit, treat the stain with the included stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

Hoodie or Waistband Cord Came Out: Rethread by attaching the cord to a safety pin to push it through.

Shoe Strap Blisters: Foot Petal Strappy Stripes adhere to the inside of shoe straps to provide protection and cushioning as you break in new shoes.

Too Short Skirt: Sew lace or a band of fabric to the hem of the skirt or add a wider waistband to the top.


Ladder in Hosiery: Apply clear nail polish at either end.

Torn Hem: Tape the hem up on the inside with masking tape.

Broken Heel: Apply Shoe Goo (found at most hardware stores) to the broken part of your heel and press firmly for a temporary fix.

Nipple Sighting: Purchase a pair of silicone nipple concealers or cover with a bandage.


Pokey Underwire: Push back in and dab superglue on the tear for a temporary fix.

Fallen Hem: Use double-sided tape to lift hem. Be sure to remove it before washing the garment.

Gaping Blouse: Close the gap with a double layer of double-sided tape.


Popped Off Sweater Button: Thread a twist tie (take the paper off first) through the button and secure it behind the garment. Only use on open weave sweaters and loose knits. The wire will harm fine fabrics.

Peek-a-Boo Panties

Getting into a car:

  1. Stand close to the car facing the same
    direction the car is pointing.
  2. Place the foot nearest the car on a
    line just in front of the seat, and the
    outside foot one step forward.
  3. Lower yourself with your weight carried on your thigh muscles until your head is clear of the car roof and sit on the outer edge of the seat.
  4. Swing your knees to the front and bring your feet inside the car.
  5. Arrange your skirt.

Getting out of a car:

  1. Lift your derriere slightly off the seat and straighten your skirt, pulling it gracefully to cover your knees.
  2. Slide to the outer edge of the seat, knees together.
  3. Place the foot that is nearest the door on the curb, bending the other leg at the same time to keep the knees close together.
  4. Step out with the other foot and lift yourself from a sitting position with your thigh muscles, keeping your back straight.



Suede: Gently rub stain with emery board. It will get rid of the stain and refresh the nap. Use stale bread to remove surface dirt.

General Stains: Rub stain with a baby wipe, Shout wipes, or Tide to Go pen to reduce the visibility of the stain until you can wash the garment.

Coffee: Run cold water over stain to get rid of most of it. Rub a little liquid detergent on old coffee stains.

Blood: Soak a blood stain with any clear carbonated beverage (club soda, tonic water) for 20 minutes and blot with a towel.

Red Wine: Pour white wine or club soda through the stain.

Oil Spots: Sprinkle with baby powder, then brush off with a clean white cloth.

Deodorant: Rub off marks with a piece of pantyhose.

Ballpoint Pen: Spray with ‘strong hold’ hairspray and launder as soon as possible.



Stuck Zipper: Rub with bar soap, a candle, or a soft lead pencil to lubricate the teeth.

Keeps Unzipping: Slide a key ring through the hole in the end of the zipper pull. Loop the key ring over the button and button your pants.

Lost the Zipper Pull: Replace with a paper clip or safety pin. Make sure to hide it under the zipper flap.


Handbag Collapse: Stuff with paper or fabric before storing to ensure they maintain their shape. Place inside an old pillowcase.

Underarm Sweat Marks: Insert sweat guards under your arms.

Back Bulge: Wear an Unbelievabra to eliminate bra lines, back fat, and muffin tops.

Belt Buckle Bulge: Invisibelt is a flat, a smooth, undetectable belt with a flat clasp that gives you a sleeker, slimmer look.


Angora/Mohair From Shedding: Insert sweater in a Ziploc bag and freeze for at least three hours

Runs in Pantyhose: Spraying hairspray on the toes of a new pair of pantyhose. It strengthens the threads and makes them last longer.


Shoes Losing Their Shine: Lightly spray just-polished shoes with hair spray for a coat of protection.

Sore Feet or Broken Heels: Check your heels before you leave the house and carry fold-up slippers such as SpareSoles.


Fading Dark Jeans: Add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the last washing cycle.

Colour Runs in the Washer: Separate colours when washing or use Shout® Color Catcher® sheets.

Undoable Shoe Laces: Watch the video.


Leather Handbags: Wipe with a damp cloth and mild soap, then buff with a colourless leather conditioner.

Patent Leather: Lightly spray on glass cleaner, then buff gently with a cotton cloth or paper towel.

Sneakers: Use an old toothbrush to clean with a baking powder and detergent mixture. Watch the video

Sweat Stains from Shirts: Spray area with lemon juice before washing.


Denim Hem Tape: Supports heavier fabrics. Allows you get the most wear out of your jeans or trousers.

Need a Pocket: Pocksie adhesive pocket attaches to the inside of your clothing to carry small items like a cell phone, money, or credit cards.