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Substance or superficialities?

It's your life. You decide!
Focusing on substance doesn’t mean forgetting about style. We love our clothes, shoes, purses … the lengthy list continues. This section includes the details that fashionistas and frugalistas will appreciate: how to dress your body’s shape, local boutiques featuring the best finds and a run-down of what’s in style. Make this section your first stop for new ideas to freshen your wardrobe and help you put your most fashionable foot forward!

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The benefits of mixing and matching from your closet

March 3, 2011

With the recession still in full swing, saving money is a popular New Year’s resolution! It’s a tough challenge for those of us with an appetite for the latest trends in fashion. Here’s a fresh idea for my fashion divas: the old method of mixing and matching from your closet.

Remember all those individual items you bought on a whim here and there? Now’s the time to pull them out and mix them up with your everyday pieces. This is a great way to save you time and money, not to mention help you explore new looks.

After all, who has the time to run to the mall or stop by a boutique for every occasion or event? Mixing and matching your current wardrobe allows you to spend more time at home preparing to go out. You can dig through your old stash and try out your more recent items in between cooking, doing hair and makeup, or just listening to your favorite music. Now that’s a great way to start a fun evening!

In addition to saving time, consider the amount of money you’ll be reserving for a better cause. Instead of buying that $100 pair of shoes or the $50 dress, you can put the saved dollars toward that beautiful $300 sofa you’ve been wanting. Or start saving for the vacation you’ve planned. Don’t you feel better already just considering the extra cash in your wallet?

Saving time and money is good, but my favorite benefit to the old mixing and matching trick is the ability to explore new looks. Try on that old ruffled skirt with a new button- down blouse, or that multi-colored waist belt with your favorite little black dress. You’ll be surprised at the new results. There’s no limit to the outfit possibilities!

Next time you need a new outfit, mix and match to discover the benefits for yourself. Who knows: You may be the next trendsetter of the year!

Muniyra Peyton

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Big, Small, Short, Tall - Learn how to dress your own shape

October 1, 2010

As women, we often want what we cannot have… rather, it’s all the shoes in the world, someone else’s man, (yes, I said it!), or to just have what we consider to be “a better body.” What we often fail to do is appreciate what we already have. Let’s start embracing our own assets by learning how to dress our own shapes! What do I mean by that, you ask? Well, my feisty feminine friends, get ready to find out!

The first case-in-point: There are some women who may feel too wide in the mid-section. A cinched waist is always helpful. Try purchasing a few wide-width belts, preferably made with an elastic material. This will allow you to comfortably control your midsection, just enough to accentuate the rest of your curves. Fitted pieces— strategically used for layering— such as vests, cropped sweaters and jackets, also help to conceal those “dangerous curves,” while flaunting the curves we welcome. For this shape, these pointers can help show the sexier side of you, while keeping your look fairly conservative.

For the women who carry the combination of being too top-heavy and smaller at the bottom, don’t fret! Here are a few tips to help you balance your assets (so to speak): Layering pieces, in this case, pretty much work opposite from our aforementioned body shape example. Vests, sweaters, jackets, and other layering items add more to the upper body, actually weighing down your look in that area. Try looser, more flowing looks from the waist down, such as knee-length or ankle-length skirts and dresses, or boot-cut and wide leg jeans and pants. Gauchos or genie-styled Capri pants with knee-high riding boots (preferably cut wider at the top) complete some of the fall’s hottest fashion looks for this shape. Fitted tops and looser bottoms create the illusion of a more evenly distributed body form.

Now, believe it or not ladies, there are actually some of us out there who WISH we had more to flaunt! Ok, I admit it— I fit that bill. We sometimes feel too small either at the top, the bottom, or both.  For this shape, the suggested phrase is: more is more! Without cluttering or overdoing it, layers, accessories, and form-fitting articles of clothing are a plus. Since I happen to fall in this category, I’ll let you in on some of my own personal shaping secrets!  

What typically works for me is a cinched waist to create more curves at the top and bottom. Form shaping bottom pieces, such as pencil skirts, clingy dresses, and jeans made with a good elastic material, usually work miracles on a small frame. Since the overall shape is petite, your overall look depends on what you are wearing at the moment to help spotlight the portion of your body to be exaggerated. For instance, if you feel like your outfit is making your upper body bulkier, remove any added top layers and stick with the bottom layer. Or, you can add accessories that draw the eye to your bottom portion, such as bracelets, belts, even a more noticeable pair of shoes! As for the inverse, you can add a layering top, a necklace, or a more noticeable pair of earrings to help create a fuller upper body. These small changes can make a big difference in creating a physically even balance.            

Here’s a few words for the height challenged. There is a simple rule of thumb that never fails to work for any and every woman, regardless of her shape. It’s pretty simple: the shorter you are (5’5” and below), the taller the heel. The taller you are (5’6” and above), the shorter the heel. Unless, of course, you’re working it on the runway… or wish to be!

So ladies, let’s all look forward to learning to love ourselves and embracing ourselves for who we are, regardless of  how big, small, short or tall… let’s learn to dress our own shapes!

Muniyra Peyton

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