Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Outta Sight Summer Sunnies

Already two long-weekends in and another shortly on the way (for Ontario folks anyway!), it's in the dog days of summer that most of us lose at least one pair of sunglasses. Unlike replacing summer clothes mid-season when you might wonder if it's worthwhile, sunglasses are an investment that will far outlast the sunny season both in style and in vision health.
For readers who know me, you'll know that I wear my sunnies nearly every day, all year long. I consider them amongst my primary accessories. My Optometrist, Dr. Shirley Blanc, gave me more perspective on why sun-specs are key throughout the year. Her tips:
  1. Price, colour, or lens darkness aren't guaranteed indicators of how much UV protection a pair of sunglasses will provide.
  2. Generally, the tint should be dark enough to reduce glare and improve visual comfort, grey or brown tints are generally recommended to prevent colour distortion,
  3. While plastic lenses are lighter than glass, make sure there's scratch-resistant coating on plastic lenses as even small nicks can decrease UV protection.
But are all sunglasses appropriate for all occasions? Turns out, the type of protection from different lenses might be best for different activities. The Canadian Standards association complies with guidelines known as ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards for sunglass protection.
  1. Cosmetic sunglasses: Block at least 70% UVB and up to 60% UVA. They provide only mild UV protection and aren't usually recommended for daylight driving. They're perfect for an after-work patio though.
  2. General-purpose sunglasses: Block 95%-99% UVB and 60%-92% UVA. Good for driving, and are recommended whenever sunlight is harsh enough to make you squint. Going out for lunch with the gang? Planned an afternoon in the sun? This is the sort of protection you'll need.
  3. Special-purpose sunglasses: Block at least 99% UVB and up to 98.5% UVA. Suitable for extended periods of sun exposure - not recommended for driving. Since these lenses also block up to 97% of visible light, they are very dark. They'd be great for outdoor sports, a day at the beach or on the water.
AH HA! So THAT'S why you should have different pairs for different occasions. To help you decide, here are my favourite top trends this season.
Gucci Web Frames. Oversized rounded square frames are perennially chic and ideal for 9 -5.
Dolce & Gabbana two-tone frames. Cat's Eye are the next big retro trend. Watch and see!
Karen Walker Eyewear Helter Skelter frames. An ideal combination of sporty and urbane. A little 'Wayfarer' and a little 'John Lennon', very unisex.

Super People frames. The classic Wayfarer with a twist. Sporty and sophisticated, for men and women.
Carrera City Folding frames. This Aviator Visor folds up! Perfect for busy days and travel.

All photos courtesy of Polyvore.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hats ON to Headgear!

What's the single easiest way to:
  1. Beat summer heat
  2. Avoid burnt noses, cheeks and scalps
  3. Prevent crow's feet and
  4. Amp up style?
With a hat! They are a key trend this summer for both men and women, but it can be tough to find one that suits. Knowing the trends is one way, but using your face shape as a guide can also help you narrow down what will work for you in any season.

Trademark Tips:

Round: Choose a hat with sharper lines, and medium - high crown height with a slight taper. Medium brims that are turned up or that can be angled are great, especially if the hat is positioned forward or asymmetrically to lengthen your face.
Try This: Fedoras, Panamas, Stetsons, or Sunhats (for my ladies).
Square: This shape needs curvier lines to offset its angular strength. Look for a medium - high crown height that appear full and round. A turned up brim helps soften features, especially if worn with a side tilt or high on your head to break up 'squariness.'
Try This: Homburgs (like a Fedora with permanently turned up sides), Fedoras, Berets or Newsboys worn high and slanted and big floppy Sunhats (for my ladies).

Long: Sharp, straight styles with a lower crown and a medium - wide brim are best. Wear it straight or forward with the brim kept straight to balance out the length of your face beautifully.
Try This: Western/Stetson styles, Fedoras, Baseball & Newsboy caps
Heart/Diamond: Look for a medium height crown in a square or round shape, and give it a tilt to one side. Small brims and curved brims will soften the point of your chin.
Try This: Fedoras, Cloches and Profile brim hats (for my ladies)
Oval: Considered the 'ideal' face shape, an oval face can wear almost any style of hat well! (Lucky!)
The Fedora fits so nicely into just about every category.It's not only a versatile pick but it also happens to be The Hat of the season for both guys and girls.

Want to try a hat but not sure it's for you? I love the reasonable prices and variety of styles at Big It Up. For a custom look, there's no better gem than Lilliput Hats. See what kind of personality a hat can add to your accessories wardrobe!

Hot, Hazy + Humid: Summer's Triple Threat

I'm always a fan of special occasion days or weeks and this week has been National Sun Awareness Week! You know the dangers of overexposure to UV rays, and you know your supposed to protect yourself from them, but finding practical, effective ways to protect yourself from intensified UV rays while still enjoying the spontaneity of summer can be a bit of a challenge.

That said, nothing can erode your tailored image quite like accidental sun burns and reverse raccoon eyes. Something about them subconsciously screams 'PAAARTYYY!' Don't let summer's Hot, Hazy, Humid triple threat put a damper on your summer style. Here are our Trademark Tips for staying protected and image savvy every day:
  1. Daily SPF for Body: Using an unscented lighter formula or a body lotion that has an SPF of 15 or higher built in makes it easy to apply right out of the shower when you're moisturizing anyway. It doesn't have to be fancy. A product as simple as Vaseline® Daily Sun Shield does it. Because it's a daily moisturizer formula, it won't conflict with your fragrance or lead your co-workers to break out the margaritas when you walk by. Have a travel size with you to re-apply pre-patio.
  2. Daily SPF for Faces: Because faces, necks, and chests are more often exposed to sun and capture lots of rays, I prefer a high SPF in a super lightweight, non-greasy lotion. Neutrogena® Healthy Defence SPF 30 is my current choice. Great on it's own, under your moisturizer and/or under make-up.
  3. Reapply: This has always been a thorn in my side: how do you reapply without messing up your make-up, or greasing up your skin as the hours go by? Then: EUREKA! New mineral SPF powder like Bare Escentuals provide natural SPF protection, keep skin matte AND keep make-up in tact (YAY!). Guys, this is great for you too, to ward off the greasiness of repeat lotion application.
  4. Headgear: The scalp can be highly sensitive to sun's rays and needs special protection. While it's been a trend to incorporate UV protection into hair care products to protect hair colour, until now I haven't come across a combination product for hair control and scalp protection. Axe Buzzed Look Cream for men that not only provides control for short hair, but also provides the benefit of SPF for the scalp itself. No more burnt scalps guys!

Sunscreen isn't the only way to find refuge from the sun's rays while keeping your image in tact this summer. Stay tuned for two more upcoming posts in this Summer Series for more tips.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Give Meaning to Spring Cleaning

Tackling an unruly wardrobe is so satisfying! (OK, that's why I do what I do!)

As hard as it is to decide to let go of some of clothing you've had around for a while, if it's not satisfying these three things, it's better to move on.

All of your clothes should:

1. Fit your body, today
2. Fit your lifestyle needs/goals
3. Make you HAPPY!

Even two out of three may not be good enough. That's ok, it just means that you've evolved, and so has your idea of image and style. We will find new things that are perfect! But what to do with the things that you've piled up as a 'cast away' pile? Very, very rarely would I suggest that clothing should be tossed out. The only times are when the items that you're moving away from are either intimate wear or are beyond any reasonable use to another person.
You can Give Meaning to Spring Cleaning by selling or donating your old clothing items to give them the opportunity to make someone as happy as you have been when you wore them.

Trademark Spring Cleaning Tactics:

1. Consignment: Got items that are 2 years old or less, high quality vintage (think about this one carefully), and are in excellent condition? Sell them! I particularly like Ex Toggery, Off The Cuff and Second Nature Boutique. Not only will someone be able to enjoy them as much as you did, but you can use the reclaimed funds as part of your 'Clothing Budget' for the coming season. How smart! (You might also find some really great pieces there yourself)

2. Success Program Donations: Consider donating good condition business appropriate items, between 2 - 5 years old to Dress for Success or Dress Your Best. Both organizations assist economically disadvantaged individuals prepare for success in their professional pursuits. You may also be eligible for tax receipts for your donations.

3. Drop-Box Donations: The remainder of your items will likely be very welcome to the recipients of donations from Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village, or a program affiliated with your house of worship.

No matter which combination of options you choose, you will know that your spring cleaning has had extra meaning this year.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When One Closet Closes...

Transitioning your closet from one season to another - especially the big ones: Winter to Spring and Summer to Fall - isn't just about packing everything up into garment bags and bins and stuffing them into the basement. Noooo!

It's really the opportunity you have to give a final once over to the beloved clothing that has joined you for the ride over the past few months before you store them away for another year.

So, before you stuff them away (and please don't really 'stuff' any of them away) here are FOUR tips for clothing storage:

Top 2 Toe Tactics:
1. Where's the Wear? Check linings, collars, cuffs, hems, ESK (elbows, seats, knees) of all clothing and outerwear items for soiling, tears/wear, stains, and discolouration. Launder or dry clean all pieces prior to storing for the season. Even if it looks clean, body oil and perspiration are two of the most common stain/wear culprits - and pests, like moths, love them both. Even if you don't think you have pests, if any have laid eggs, they'll be impossible to find until they've eaten their way through your garments.

2. Threadbare? Don't You Dare! Aw! This must have been a favourite piece of yours. We may be able to replace it (in the case of basic sweaters, jackets, jeans) or it might be worthwhile to have a seamstress use it as a pattern to recreate a new piece to love. Either way, it's time to say goodbye to this piece. If it's a lining that's torn, you might consider replacing it! But only if it's a piece you can't live without. Lining repair cost and labour intensive work.

3. Bare Your Sole: Shoe vamps stretched out? Pointed toes turning up like the Wicked Witch of the West? It's time for a new pair. Salt stains, scuffs or worn through heel taps? Take them to a trusted shoe repair and ask them to: 1. Clean and Protect 2. Replace the heel or the heel taps 3. Resole the ball of the foot with a thin rubber tread in a colour that matches the sole of the shoe. You'll get more seasons out of those shoes than you expected and you'll look fresh and well-heeled (pardon the pun!)

4. Protect What You Love: Store your off-season clothing, hung or folded, in closed containers with cedar blocks, in a temperature controlled environment away from direct light to prevent fading. Avoid mothballs! They are not only made of nasty chemical that can harm humans and animals, but they also impart a distinctive and nose-wrinkling odor to your clothes.

Follow these tactics and your favourite clothes will be ready for another season's worth of adventures just when you need them!

To Everything There is a Season

When that first day of warm-ish weather hits, when the breeze is just right and the sky is a bright, clear blue, I'm always compelled by thoughts

Yes, I should be outside relishing the weather, but somehow it's opening up all the windows, turning up my favourite cleaning music, and getting knee-deep in the process that feels most satisfying that first day.

I know not everyone has the same rabid, 'Monica Geller-esque' desire to break out the cleaning fluids, and even I've had a few anti-cleaning excuses run through my head before, I wonder if they sound familiar to you?

'But it's SO much work!'
'It might snow again in two weeks, why bother?'
'Is gets SO much WORSE before it gets better....better leave well enough alone'

Half way through June you're wondering why you can't find your shorts amid your winter sweaters....Seasonal Closet Clean-Ups are a big job! Like anything, it's easier to accomplish if you break it into steps.

Trademark Tactics:

1. Start with your Fall/Winter clothes: Organizing and storing these items will help you mentally prepare for the new season.
2. Move on to Spring/Summer, and ask yourself:
Have you loved/worn it in the past two years?
Does it still still fit?
Is it worth altering?
Do they still fit your Style Words and goals?

You know my motto...
Clothes should do 3 things:
1. Fit your body, today
2.Fit your lifestyle needs/goals
3.Make you HAPPY!

In this case, even two out of three may not be good enough. If they don't - let them go.

3. Of the things you decide to let go of, decide what to do with them. I have lots of suggestions on how to Give Meaning to Spring Cleaning.

4. Divide your newly edited items into three categories: Reshelve, Revive, Revamp!

5. The final step - once your Fall/Winter items have been tucked away, and your Spring/Summer items fill up your closet happily, create your shopping list for the season based on what needs to be replaced and what new items you'd like to build into your style.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't Sweat It: You CAN Look Hot at the Gym!

So how is that resolution to get in shape coming along? I've noticed a distinct change in the traffic flow to my favourite gyms in the past couple of weeks as enthusiasm wanes and the 'February blahs' take hold. I think it's just about time for new riff on that commitment to fitness. After all, it's only 4 weeks until the official start of Spring!

People often tell me they don't think they need to up their image at the gym and then say what a drag it is putting on their schleppy old clothes to go work out. There are A LOT of mirrors at the gym. While last thing you may want to do is look into gigantic mirrors with fluorescent lights beaming down from above creating unflattering shadows, it's necessary in order to maintain proper form, prevent injury, and witness our own improvement. Wouldn't you love to look great AND perform well at the gym?

Old grey Tshirts, faded black sweats, ratty sneakers and a pair of sponges to protect your hand when you hold weights? Definitely more utilitarian than inspiring.

All you need to create a working workout wardrobe is:

2 pairs of flattering tech-fabric pants in a neutral colour like black or grey - choose a boot cut or a wide cut for a flattering long leg
2 - 4 mix 'n match athletic tops in two coordinating colours
1 - 2 layering tops like jackets or zip-up sweatshirts in your coordinating palette
a fun pair of trainers that fit well and look good
1 sport watch
1 pair of weight lifting gloves
1 gym bag

Trademark Trick: Your trainers will be the most critical part of your workout gear, so choose a couple of pairs of them first and let the accent colours on them guide your colour choices in your other workout gear for an overall coordinated look.

Here are two options for women:

The motivation of having a great selection of fun workout gear can really help you look forward to this part of your routine, so don't shy away from wanting to look your best when you're burning calories!

Not sure you can pull this together? Give me a call, I would love to help you get ready to get sweaty!

Monday, February 7, 2011

7 Day City Vacation, 1 Carry-On Bag

At the Delano Hotel on a very lovely golden chair

After 7 gorgeous days in beautiful Miami, can you imagine how excited I was to come back the day before 'Snowmagedon'? *Sigh* I just couldn't stay way from you though! And, as promised I took lots of photos of the outfits I created from the carry-on bag of clothing I packed for my trip.
Did you create your own set of outfits from my previous post?

I knew you would be able to put together all the basic outfits that could be created, you know: sweater with jeans, the T-shirt with shorts, or the tank top with shorts or jeans, so I wanted to show you a quick snap shot of some of the OTHER outfits I created! Honestly, with this amount of clothing I could have stayed another week and still have had variety...

Casual Day Going to Coconut Grove

Flat Shoes Were Key for Walking Around South Beach & Going to Joe's Stone Crab!

Quick Change of Jacket, Evening Bag & Heels and I Was Ready for Dinner in Brickell Village

Out for the Evening

Keeping it Simple

A Little Sheen Goes a Long Way for Dinner at Michy's (best meal!!)

Cool Out Today...

My 'Plane Outfit' Wearing my Beach Tunic as a Top (double duty!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shades of Red

Did you read my blog on why wearing red on dates is a great tip? Great to know, but red can feel a bit tricky. A little can go a long way with this dynamic colour, while a lot can either excite or intimidate. Striking the right balance means knowing how to wear it and knowing what red is right for you.

How to Wear Red
Red can evoke excitement, power, attraction, mystery, and desirability. Here's a few tips on how to evoke the right emotion in the right context:

First Date?
My Ladies: Try a red top or red accessories to bring attention up to your face. While a matte red lip can be sexy and attention-grabbing, it can also be intimidating and untouchable. Save this for another time. For a first date go with a naturally-glossy, transparent red lip instead.

My Guys: A solid red button-down is too much of a good thing. Choose a button-down with a red stripe or pattern for the best effect. A patterned shirt with a deep red cashmere sweater over it? This could be a great choice. The key is to break up the block of color for interest. It's all in the details!

Big Presentation?
My Ladies: Red accents, like a silk scarf, brooch, work bag, belt and/or shoe are all great choices to bring subtle power to your presentation. More red works too: a solid or patterned sheath dress are great choices especially when paired with grounding neutrals like black, grey or tan. A more intense red lip can work too, bringing attention to the delivery of your message!

My Guys: Strong red accents are great for you too. A solid or patterned red silk tie is always a winner, especially combined with a coordinating patterned dress shirt. Oxblood leather accessories (belt and shoes) are another subtle detail that create a sophisticated work look, and they're a fun change with black, grey and navy dress pants.

Formal Event?
My Ladies: Remember Julia Roberts in that quintessential scene in Pretty Woman? How about Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face? Now is the best time for head-to-toe red!

My Guys: Now is the time for subtlety. A red patterned pocket square and/or tie are the most appropriate uses for this bold colour.

Which red is right?
From true red, to vermillion, carnelian, carmine, sangria, burgundy and persimmon, there are lots of varieties of this challenging colour to tempt your palette and one will be great for you!

Experiment with different shades to see which reds make your skin pop, your teeth appear whiter, and your cheeks glow from within. Does the colour make YOU stand out? Or do you see the colour first? We definitely want to see more of YOU!
Just like all colours, there is a shade for you and a way to wear it that will make you look and feel your very best. Not sure what shade of red is best for you? A Colour Analysis will determine your best palette.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gonna Dress You Up in My Love...

Love is in the air...everywhere you look around....

In fact, while I was shopping at Holt Renfrew on the weekend I was gifted with a red foil wrapped heart shaped chocolate by a cupid-patterned boxer short and red feather wing wearing model and his red bodysuited & tutued assistant. It may not have been love, but it was lovely none-the-less.
It got my brain whirring....After all, as Holt's red clad staff subtly pointed out: Valentine's Day is just around the corner! Whether you're in a relationship or committing yourself to new dates and new love, what you wear on a date can increase your success in holding, or increasing, the interest of the apple of your eye.

Chris DeBurg was on to something with his song 'Lady in Red'. If you're asking yourself "Tamara, are you serious?" Oh yes, I am! And so are Andrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta, of the University of Rochester. Their studies show that in the context of dating women who wear red:
  1. Effortlessly draw their male companion to sit closer to them and ask them more intimate questions
  2. Are seen as more attractive and and desirable
  3. Are Treated to a higher quality/more expensive date
The best part is that the 'red factor,' in the context of dating, works both ways! Other findings by Elliot and Niesta conclude that women find men who wear red to be:
  1. More powerful
  2. More high-status
Really! Take a look at this clip of Prof. Elliot talking about their study findings.

As I always say: the more strings on your bow, the better! With this positive start, you can feel confident in letting your personality shine even brighter when you're out on that date.
So if you're looking for love, instead of giving a cynical snort, respond with a resounding "YES!" the next time someone asks you if you'll be donning red for Valentine's Day!

I'm glad we got that covered because with the right colour, we're part of the way there. Want to know how to wear red or what to wear on a date? Contact me! I'd love to help you get confidence boosting looks ready for your next date!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Does a Image Consultant Pack for Vacation?

I think we can agree that it's been a wild winter this year, can't we? So, not to rub it in, but I'm headed for vacation next week to sunny Miami and I can't wait! The stresses of customs combined with the lengthy waits at the baggage claim have made me decide to pack for this 7 day trip in a carry-on.

You've seen me pack in a carry-on for a business trip with the Report on Business, now I'm going to apply the same techniques when packing for a week of fun.

My trip is a City Vacation, and it will be hot during the days and cool at night. While we will definitely hit the beach & the pool, it's not a 'lay on the beach and rotate every 45 min' kind of trip. There will shopping & wandering (hello Miami Deco & Versace's Mansion!), dinners & evenings out (salsa dancing I hope!), and even gym-going....I know.

This kind of trip seems to require a lot of different kinds of clothing for difference kinds of activities but, done strategically, you can still be properly attired with lots of variety and YES: make it all into a carry-on bag.

I don't think I've ever done this before, but I'm going to share MY OWN wardrobe pieces with you right now. Ready? Here's what I'm bringing to Miami (outside of cosmetics, workout gear & socks/personals):
Steel Blue Stretch Cotton V-Neck T, Charcoal Grey Easy-Fit Tank, Mauve Matte Silk Jersey Asymmetrical Top, Steel Blue & Cream Floral Bustier

Charcoal Grey Cropped Skinny Pant, Dark Indigo Flare Jeans, Cream Self-Belt City Short
Mashable-Packable Multi-Coloured Strapless Day Dress, Steel Blue Matte Jersey Off-The-Shoulder Dress
Steel Blue Linen Blazer, Coral Pink Linen V-Neck Sweater
Chambray Tunic/Cover-Up, Green/Turquoise/Coral Pink Paisley Bikini, Turquoise Bikini
Nude Heels, Brown Wedge Sandals, Charcoal Grey Shimmery Thongs, Deep Purple Scarf, Brown Leather Shoulder Bag, Shell Coloured Shimmery Suede Clutch, Brown Wide Belt, Gas-Spill Metallic Twist 'n Tie Belt

And yes, it all fits in a carry-on! There's even enough room for a travel companion...sorry Minouchka, not this time!

What I love about this capsule: 1) The colour palette mixes a constant neutral (Charcoal Grey) with 4 flattering colours (denim blue, mauve, steel blue, and coral pink) that work well in warm weather, 2) The fabrics mix well together and for different levels of dress because they are light weight, smooth textured, and 3) Every piece does multiple duties so there's lots of bang for buck!

So where's the work out gear? I put it into my gym bag of course! This Lug Puddle Jumper also makes a perfect tote bag for travel. Lots of compartments and a tonne of internal space, I fit in two sets of workout gear, gym shoes, weight gloves, my laptop, iPod & earphones, and a slew of other odds & ends for the plane ride (like my laptop, trail mix & kale chips).
Ooh! One last tip: I choose to wear some of the heartier clothing on the plane so it doesn't take up valuable packing space. My 'travel outfit' will be the jeans with the chambray tunic, the jacket, accessorized with the platform shoes (with cute crochet sockettes for the Toronto portion), wide belt, large brown purse, and purple scarf. Upon arrival I can peel a layer or two off and feel perfectly suited for the Miami warmth!

Play with this capsule! I bet you can think up far more than just a week's worth of outfits here! And I'll show you some of the combos I wore when I return!