Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Wondering...

OK, so we're facing December and Toronto is the only city in the country that has yet to see full-on snow. I hope I'm not 'jinxing' the situation but I am glad it gives us a bit more time to talk about winter coats and accessories.

I recently helped a client to get out of her black coat rut with the purchase of a beautiful royal purple boucle car length coat which we accessorized with a deep pink zigzag pleated scarf and coordinating black-plum leather gloves. Topping it off were a pair of black winterized suede 'shoeties' boots with delicate silver studs on the heels and a gorgeous black leather bag with a shoulder strap long enough to go over a coat sleeve.

Can you imagine what a joy she will be to look in the middle of February? She can't wait for the cold!

I know not everyone is brave enough to give up a black winter coat, and that's ok! It makes a fantastic base for interesting accessories! In fact, a reader, Andrea, wrote me with a question that I'm sure many of you have: "Tamara, is it ok to wear a black coat with a black bag and brown boots?"

I suppose it is, but I think we can have a lot more fun here. A couple of things to remember:
  1. We have winter for a loooong time. I advise my clients to build a wardrobe of winter outerwear that suits their needs. For heaven's sake, would you wear the same outfit every day for 6 months? Didn't think so. So why would you wear the same coat, boots, and winter accessories every day until the thaw?
  2. The idea is to make this outer layer look like just as much a thoughtful outfit as the rest of your clothing. Have fun with the accessories! They're easy to build on, replace and jazz up!
Here are a couple interesting & elegant options for that black coat, one that uses that brown accent but bumps it up by incorporating this winter's fur trend & one that uses berry tones and a little rock 'n roll bling:

These are two simple ways to create interest with that plain old black winter coat. What's your favourite way to accessorize for winter?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Moustaches for a Cause - It's Movember!

In October, many of us are focused on raising funds and awareness about Breast Cancer and Children's Charities, but in November there is another opportunity to come together and this time it's all about the men.

Since 2003, November has also been celebrated as Movember! A month during which men change their physical features by growing a moustache and accepting donations for men's health, specifically prostate cancer research. What a fun way not only to raise funds for an important cause, but to also have an opportunity to experiment with your personal image!

What can facial hair do for you? I couldn't agree more with eHow on this one:
1. A moustache can reduce the look of a receding hairline by directing attention toward the lower half of your face
2. A beard or goatee can add strength to a weaker jawline
3. A short beard or nicely trimmed moustache can add definition and shape to a round face
4. Narrower moustaches plus a small patch of hair under the lower lip (aka a soul patch) balances thin lips, high foreheads and/or large noses
5. A narrow, closely trimmed moustache that follows the natural curves of your lips can emphasize a well shaped mouth.
5. A goatee can provide a softening counterpoint to sharp facial features like a sharp nose or small mouth
6. A closely clipped beard or 5 o'clock shadow can make more mature facial shapes look refreshed and current! They add softness and can give the illusion of taughtness to the skin!

Wearing facial hair with style:
1. Make sure that wearing facial hair is ok at work. If it takes you a long time to grow your facial hair, you may with to start with a full beard and shave down to the moustache when you've reached your desired length.
2. Understand that just as in clothing, each face shape can support different shapes of facial hair
3. Research different facial hair designs and plan to groom in that direction for the month
4. Keep your facial hair neat and tidy with the right tools (like your razor of choice, a moustache comb and trimmer)

For more information on how to participate in Movember, visit Movember Canada.

With so many famous attractive moustachioed men out there like Jamie Foxx, Jude Law, and the timeless Tom Selleck, I would certainly suggest having fun with this one.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lift and Separate - Your Rear?

In the MSN/Sympatico article How to Dress Your Womanly Curves I provided a few style tips on how to avoid the dreaded Muffin Top. Another rear-view issue is figuring out how to lift and separate for a fuller behind. A fuller-looking rear end has been a coveted feature for a number of seasons now, and there are a number of ways to enhance what you've got....

1. Cut & Style
For flat rears, look for mid to high rise bottoms that fit well across the rear. No sagging under your tush or excess material across the top where your tush and your back meet. Trouser style pants can be a great choice. The pant should fall straight from the mid-rear to the hem, no hugging, pulling or sagging anywhere along the way.

2. Something in Your Pocket
Pocket placement and detail are critical! For a perky rear view, back pockets should be slightly raised on the pant, and placed straight on, or at a slight angle. Embellishment, and patch or box details are great tush enhancers.
Also note the pocket:tush ratio: Too small pocket = overwhelming tush, too big pocket = disappearing tush. Not good.

Not Your Daughter's Jeans have a 'Lift & Tuck' Technology that actually supports your bottom line!

3. Magic Pants!
The right foundation counts! There are lots of online resources, but having a pro fit you at a specialty shop like Avec Plaisir is as important for underwear as it is for bras.

Tush lifting undies are cleverly shaped and seamed to hike you up & round you out using your own shape. Want more? Try butt lifters & padded enhancers that are comfortable, breathable, and natural looking to....boot.

No matter what stylist tips & tricks you choose, what's most important is that every tush can look great - so proud of yours, and flaunt what you've got!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

For Women: Military Inspired Accessories

Many of you have asked about the military trend, with this question: How can I pull off the military trend without going over the top?

There's a lot of military inspired boots out there. Buying a pair that will last more than one season depends on being able to find some that pay homage to the trend without going full-force into it.

Here are some that I like:

Tory Burch bootie! Lovely!
This one was featured in the September issues of Vogue and Lucky!
Frye Veronica Shorties are great if you just...can't...bear...heels ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For Men: The Waxed Jacket

OK Guys,

So many of you have written and called me about that FANTASTIC jacket I spotted on the street in my demo reel.

That jacket is a waxed cotton field jacket, and the style is reminiscent of the typical outerwear of the British countryside. According to the Barbour website, the main function of the treated fabric was to keep sailors, riverworkers, navymen, and the dock and shipyard workers who were wearing them dry in the damp weather.

While this highly functional fabric has been brought back in a more tailored, urban capacity, you can find a number of similar renditions in variations on the theme. Part utility, part woodsy, part urban-guy-about-town, here are some of my faves:
This is the one from the video! By Rag & Bone, get it at Uncle Otis

The Woodland from JCrew...and they ship to Canada
Not waxed but a nice slim utility style jacket from The Gap

Happy Hunting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Could Your Image Consultant (hehem that'd be me) Be on TV?

I recently posted my demo reel for the Marilyn Denis show auditions (I know!) and so many of you contacted me to tell me that the styles I pointed out inspired you to action! I was so impressed I just had to post about it.

I'm going to break out a few options for the great Fall trends I noted in that video, so those of you still pining for those items can see a few different Trademark worthy options...more to come!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall's Extreme Trends. How much is too much?

This fall we're seeing all manner of extreme trends from Military to Big, Chunky Knits to Canadiana and, one of my favourites: Animal Prints! asked me to give a few tips on how to work the new trends without becoming a fashion victim. You can check out my 'Dos' and 'Don'ts' here: How Much is Too Much?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Dressing - for YOU! Not the Turkey (or tofurkey)

In the Fall I always look forward to that day, that one day, where the leaves turn from green to shades of gold, tan, burnt orange and deep crimson. This year, it seemed to happen overnight! And yet, despite the leaves falling, the temperatures are balmy for this time of year.

So what to wear, then, for your Thanksgiving gatherings when cable knits and cozy layers seem a bit premature and you just know you'll be running around on last minute errands, or after kids? Especially if you're the Host-with-the-Most!

Keep it casual, but thoughtful and just a little bit festive. No reason why a pair of dark denim can't make an appearance at your family gathering so long as their jazzed up a bit. And that goes for my ladies and my men!

Here's a relaxed but snappy couple for inspiration...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Love, Loss & What I Wore

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the stage adaptation of Love, Loss and What I Wore a monologue-style play by Nora and Delia Ephron adapted from Ilene Beckerman's book of the same name. My girlfriends and I sat in the audience, at turns nodding, laughing, and tearing up as we listened to stories that seemed like a universal consciousness.

Don't we all we all have stories about clothing items that were with us during a pivotal moment in our lives? A graduation outfit, the first item we bought with our own money, a wedding dress or tuxedo, a special colour or style a grandparent always wore? I am always excited when I visit a client's closet for the first time, and am greeted with a bounty of these stories. Clothes are a special breed of personal history.

The clothing we aspire to wear, that which we love or despise, the colours we love and loath, all just might stem from experiences we have had with clothing throughout our lives. Sometimes we hold on tight to them, just so we always have the same feeling we had at that time. Clothes might be tangible manifestations of our memories of the past, but it is the feeling that they gave us that we can translate and bring to life again in a new way that's right for the present or future.

Dressing each day is an opportunity for us to greet the world in just the way we want to be seen. With the right clothes, we can feel confident, playful, intelligent, capable, secure, trustworthy, calm, flirtatious, creative, mysterious...the essence of who we are defined, just by a few meters of cloth. No small thing, is it?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Map Your Style with a Style Vision Board

In my book, Fall is the unofficial start of the New Year. The magazines are the thickest, trend forecasters are in high gear, and you get that familiar ‘coming back after summer vacation’ feeling...

Naturally, it’s a perfect time to think about what really works for your personal style. What will make you excited to get dressed in the morning? What ideas do you love right now, and which would you want to retire? What will forward your personal style goals? The question is: ”What’s really me?”

A Style Vision Board can help organize your thoughts and remind you of how you’d like your personal style to look. Here’s what you need:

  • A big pile of current magazines
  • A pair of scissors
  • A glue stick
  • A big piece of blank paper or cardstock

First, tear out all the pages that show clothing that piques your interest. Don’t worry if you’ve never worn the style or colour before, we’re looking for possibilities! Take a little break, perhaps for a day or two, come back to those photos and narrow them down to the ones you really, truly love. Use them to build a collage that will tun into your Style Vision Board!

Check out these Style Vision Boards for two very different Style Types:

Rocker Queen!Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore
Eclectic IndividualismFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Next, take your Style Vision Board to your closet with you and take a look inside. Pull out some of your accessories, your hosiery, and shoes. Are there new combinations of items hanging in your closet that would fit this new vision for Fall? Try them on and see how they feel! Would one or two new items really complete your new look? Create a Shopping List! You're on your way to seeing your ideal style come alive!

Finally, post your Style Vision Board up where you will have access to it on a regular basis. A Style Vision Board is only as useful as your line of vision to it!

Fashionably Yours,


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ask Tamara: What does 'Summer Chic' mean?

A few months ago I wrote an Ask Tamara segment called Cracking Wedding Dress Codes for Men and now that we've hit summer full force, more and more invitations with creative dress codes are coming our way!

On a recent shopping trip with one of my client-couples, we tackled outfits for a 'Summer Chic' event. A 'Summer Chic' dress code is about as foggy a notion as reaching for your Sangria through a cloud of BBQ smoke. A few questions help to properly define the dress code:
  1. What time of day is the event? 7:00pm on (cocktail to evening)
  2. Where is the event being held? An -in-the-know urban venue complete with grassy rooftop patio
  3. What is the event celebrating? Well-known brand re-launch (business & networking!)
For the gentleman of my couple, we played down a great summer suit, a patterned dress shirt with a casual pique tie, & a coordinating pocket square. Casual accents like a rolled up pant cuff, sockless feet & suede slip-on shoes add personality!

For the woman of my couple, we found a beautiful flow-y chiffon summer dress, strappy leather platforms (and an extra pair of embellished sandals just in case!), fun, colourful chunky jewelry and an unexpectedly joyous clutch!

With looks like these, it's easy to enjoy the party!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

'Tis The Rainy Season

Spring really is on its way and, as many of you know, this is my favourite season - so I couldn't be happier!

There is one thing about the season that I have found perplexing: how to cope with the unpredictable rain in a fashionable, sophisticated way. The onslaught of patterned plastic boots over the past couple of years has had me up in arms. They have been for the most part, to me, the rain proof equivalent of uggs: an efficient way to ruin an otherwise well thought-out outfit!

The reality is that we do need something to protect us from the wet beyond a classic or funky turn on the trench. My wishes have been received by a number of designers who've upped the ante and created practical, age-appropriate rain accessories to go with your ubiquitous tan or black topper.

Here three of my top picks for my Ladies:

The Burberry: I like this heart pattern better on the umbrella than I do on the rain boot. The embossed logo boot is just "so!" Don't you think?

For those with attitude, I love this combination of the Jimmy Choo for Hunter (yes, that's right) Crock print boot and a monogrammed umbrella. Of course, there are more reasonably priced rainboots with a similar look, but....these are fun too! You could also sub in a rubberized motorcycle boot for more downtown appeal.

And I'm sure you didn't think I would leave you hanging without an animal print rendition...did you? A sophisticated but fun version from Stuart Weitzman and a simple umbrella to match. I love the surrounding effect of the Fulton Birdcage Umbrella, but it does come in a regular umbrella shape as well. And, if it's good enough for the Queen, it's good enough for me!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Try This Trend: Socks & Sandals

For years people have told me I was crazy - how can you wear socks and sandals? Well my friends, this is where my favourite fashion phrase easily comes to mind: 'Never say never!'

I hate to say I told you so, but yes, socks and sandals are en vogue this year and there are ways to wear this trend successfully.

First, a proviso: this is not a trend for everyone. It is best on those whose style is along the lines of "Ingenue," it should most always be worn for off-work-hours occasions (unless your profession is in fashion or otherwise crAlign Lefteative fields predominated by youth), and for daytime or casual fun evenings.

Second, the rules for success:
  1. Start slowly...try a black & beige crochet tight with a black dress and platform black dress sandal or a cream crochet ankle sock with brown wedge sandals under trouser jeans to transition to this Spring trend
  2. Choose socks made of a nylon or lightweight silk or nylon blend from mostly opaque to sheer. Thick/casual socks will not work.
  3. Choose a dressier or funkier sandal always with heel height - either a wedge or a chunky heel. Never a flat or Birkenstock-type sandal...we're going for fashion, not overnight camp.
  4. Choose an ankle sock and avoid knee-highs
  5. Choose socks and sandals within a few steps of the colour family of each other to decrease the possibility of looking tacky...and increase the chicness.
  6. Choose a pattern or detail that corresponds the mood of your outfit.
So! That said, here are a few examples of the runways that did this trend justice:


Monday, March 29, 2010

ROM PROM's Best Dressed

In last week's post 'A Major Fundraiser Goes Glam,' I interviewed Tao Drayton of Cabaret Vintage who helped described how to create a fabulous Old Hollywood Glam look for both men and women.

This weekend I attended the ROM PROM where Toronto's philanthropically-minded, social set came out in droves to enjoy a night of live Big Band music, fantastic Lindy Hoppers, beautiful decor, bevvies and even a Choose-Your-Own-Candy Bar!

My picks for best dressed of the evening:

Kara Wood, in a gorgeous vintage Hong Kong style dress

Kimberly Hu & Chris Lo - A charming couple that's made to match

Susie Love, Staunton Bowen & Holly Hendershot
Lucky man! These two dames pulled out all the stops with their fun '40s ganger moll looks

David Servinis & Sarah Bywater
Understated Hollywood elegance

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Major Fundraiser Goes Glam...

Saturday evening marks the 5th annual Gala Fundraiser for the Royal Ontario Museum. Known as the ROM PROM, this fundraising even is a cornerstone of the Toronto Philanthropic Social Calendar.

I'm thrilled to be attending this year - and will be letting you in on all the best fashion there! The theme this year is NOIR - dark glamour, vintage Hollywood looks and all the fatalism that goes along with it.

Gloria Swanson & William Holden in Sunset Boulevard

So: What to wear?? I paid a visit to my friend Tao Drayton of Cabaret Vintage, tried on a bunch of amazing dresses both pristine vintage as well as from their newly designed vintage-inspired line (you have to try on the Soiree, and they're all made to measure!) and asked him to share his thoughts on the theme:

1. What does Noir or Old Hollywood Glam Mean?

I see Noir style as bold, sexy, moody with emphasized tailoring and detail. The films were often in black and white so people usually think of a grey palette, but the marquis posters showed the vibrant colours of the actual wardrobe, so don't be afraid of colour.

2. What are the hallmarks of evening wear style for women when dressing in the Old Hollywood Style?

The hallmarks to me are luxury, decadence and out of the ordinary. Women wore dresses and gowns of exceptional quality, jewelry that dripped with glamour. Go for lavish, but avoid sweet.

3. What are the hallmarks for men?

For men, I think it's about the suit and a hat if you can! Think Humphrey Bogart, Pinstripe suit, Fedora and Trench coat. For the suit, I recommend a dark colour and a wide lapel.
Humphrey Bogart & Mary Astor (Right) in The Maltese Falcon

4. If you had to make a Top Five List of fashion and accessories to pull off a great Old Hollywood look, what would they be?

1. Fabulous Black Dress
2. Sexy neckline
3. Bold Hat (men and women)
4. Bold Suit (men and women)
5. Attitude!

Thanks for all the great tips, Tao! Can't wait until Saturday night!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Always Nice to Get a Compliment!

It's always nice to receive a compliment, isn't it? Some of us have a really difficult time accepting them; especially when we've made significant lifestyle and personal style changes. So here are a few tips to help you perfect your compliment Ps & Qs.

Accepting Compliments Gracefully:
1. Recognize when you are being paid a compliment! Compliments can come in many forms, some of which might look like:
"You're always so....(put together/polite/dressed up!/kind/thoughtful/etc)"
"WHERE did you get that (fill in appropriate item)?"
"When I think of (positive quality), I always think of you"
"Great job on (blank)!"

2. Say "Thank you!"/"Thank you very much!" Ps & Qs are timeless classics and they always work, even when you're caught off guard.

3. Smile! It's ok to enjoy a compliment. In fact, the sole purpose of paying a compliment is to validate the recipient and make her feel good! So, be gracious and allow the Complimenter the pleasure of knowing you appreciate that they noticed you.

4. Return the favour. Provide a genuine compliment right back! Saying something like "Thank you! That means a lot coming from you!" is a nice way to recognize that the Complimenter's opinion counts to you.

5. Pay it forward. If it was a group effort, for example in a work setting, give the compliment to the group and let the contributors to your success know that you couldn't have done it without them.

Grace Erasers:
There are some things you should avoid while accepting a compliment....
1. Arguing the compliment. There's no need to protest or object!
2. Filling in empty air by adding in extra words. Try to keep your response brief and genuine.
3. Fishing for more compliments...
4. Being negative, braggartly or regretful

So go out there and enjoy your limelight!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thank you, Boa!

A quick note of thanks to Daphne of Boa who has posted me as her style Snap of the Month on her shop's website. Boa is a great little shop Uptown that has a fab selection of priced-just-right on trend items.

This pic was snapped at the Launch Party for The White Space....just goes to show, you never know who's looking! ;)

Thanks so much for making me your pick Daphne!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ask Tamara: Cracking Wedding Dress Codes for Men

While on a recent Shopping Field Trip, a client asked me how to know what kind of suit would be appropriate for a wedding. He wanted to feel appropriate for the occasion without compromising his unique stylish flair.

So, what does a guy wear to a wedding?

The answer can be as simple as a classic dark suit, but for those who want to bring some personal style to their attire, there are many options that give men the chance to have just about as much fun getting ready for a joyous event as women do!

Many invitations will have the expected dress code already stated on the invitation. Classic dress codes include: White Tie, Black Tie, Black Tie Optional/Formal, while others become more creative (and confusing) by inventing their own. I've seen dress codes that have included: "Country Club Casual", "Beach Formal/Beach Chic", and "Festive Attire"... these ones usually illicit confusion and a collective "WHAT?"

The first step to decoding this language of dress codes is to note the season, location, and time of day of the wedding. These factors should help to narrow down the parameters of appropriateness. If they don't help enough, it is always OK to ask a member of the bridal party for help. The Bride & Groom are under enough stress, so try to accommodate that by feeding requests through their party who are there with the mission to help.

In the case of this client, the wedding is for a member of his immediate family. While he may not be in the wedding party, he will be a part of the event, and will have a certain amount of attention paid to him throughout the evening. The wedding is in summer, and will be a small evening affair, with a semi-formal feeling.

We decided to go with a linen blend suit in chocolate brown with a double black stripe, a lightweight black woven with woven tone-on-tone stripe shirt and chocolate brown tie with a black and white repeat pattern. A fantastic pair of cognac wingtip shoes and a matching cognac belt complete this funky formal look. While the outift fits the dress code, it will be anything but stuffy or boring! This is a suit look that can dance!

While the wedding is a few months away yet, the outfit ready to go and all that's left is to enjoy the celebration!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Elevate Reader Make-Over

It's out, it's finally out!

I've been waiting to share this with you, and now I finally can! The March/April issue of Elevate Magazine has finally hit the stands and within its pages is a fantastic Reader Make-Over featuring Reader/Winner Anna F. whose make-over gifted her to receive a variety of non-invasive cosmetic enhancements including smile whitening, hair treatments, dermatological facial treatments, and a full make-over session with Yours Truly.

Anna looked and felt terrific - a shining example of what 50 looks like today: modern, confident, and naturally sexy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The White Space @The Bay - Contemporary Edge in a Canadian Dept Store!

I had the pleasure of going to the launch party for The White Space @ The Bay last Thursday night. It was a veritable Who's Who and What's What! Hosted by FASHION Magazine, the evening was full of excitement - dancing models showing off some of the new lines available, signature cocktails and candy, and an opportunity to meet the designers of some of these great new lines (Brandon Svarc of Naked & Famous, and Yara Flinn of Nomia, below).

For my clients a few of these lines truly stood-out:

I'm looking to McQ and Ian for great twists on suiting, the great dresses from Tracy Reese and Issa London for date nights, and Nomia, Naked & Famous Denim (a great line proudly made in Montreal!), and ADAM for off-time.

With 7,000 square feet, there is SO much more there to explore!

One of my personal faves:

How could I resist this Frock! by Tracy Reese dress? It's just so exuberant!

You know how much I love building versatility into a wardrobe. I love this dress because: it will work on it's own now with a black long sleeve T, opaque black tights & leather boots, in the Spring/Summer with a linen blazer and nude pumps for business, and on it's own with bright heels for evening.

Alas, I couldn't take the cute Trademark green chair home with me, since it belongs to The White Space's fitting room, so I've captured it here, for blog-posterity...