Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Jewelry can be made out of any material on earth and can adorn any part of your body. While the focus has been on jewelry that is made from gems and precious metals, there is also a growing demand for jewelry that focuses on design and creativity.
This ‘art jewelry’ is more highly prized for its form than for it’s material value. In addition, there’s plenty of less-costly costume jewelry made with less valuable material, yet makes a fine addition to anyone’s wardrobe. Fortunately, no matter the depth of your pocket, there is jewelry to suit every budget.
Choosing jewelry that enhances your looks is fun and exciting, but it can also be confusing and overwhelming. So keep the following in mind to make the right selections that compliment your unique style:
If warm colors go well with your skin tone, choose jewelry in shades of yellow, rose gold, or bronze. If you find that cooler colors suit you better, then choose white metals, such as silver, platinum or white gold.
Are you a romantic gal, or is elegance more your style? Are you drawn more to the natural, bohemian look, or more to western dramatic designs?
Most of us are multifaceted, so our wardrobe - and thus our jewelry - should reflect this aspect of ourselves. If you have lovely, well-manicured hands, wear only one beautiful ring (in addition to a wedding ring, if you wear one). If your neck is your best asset, wear a necklace as the focus of your image, but make sure to wear tiny earrings.
Do not wear yellow earrings with a white metal necklace unless the necklace includes both yellow and white metals (my personal preference!). Remember to make a statement not a showcase. Focus on one piece of jewelry. More is definitely not better!
Also, it’s important that you to take care of your jewelry. Polish your silver pieces and make sure to check clasps and mountings regularly on all your jewelry. Be gentle, or you might lose important pieces from your favorite earrings or necklace. In French, there is a saying, "Dis-moi quels bijoux tu portes et je te dirai qui tu es." Or in English: "Tell me what type of jewelry you wear and I will tell you who you are." Thus, it is important to remember that the jewelry you wear is an integral part of your image. Choose pieces that improve your image and are appropriate for you. Remember that your image is your first form of communication as well as your first business card. So choose your jewelry well, and enjoy wearing it!
Happy Holiday Season!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I’m sure you too have noticed that webcams have no pity on wrinkles, pale complexions and sagging jaws. In fact, it seems to me they highlight these aspects! How cruel is that! Webcams certainly did me no favors. I was horrified how unflattering they could be! This led me to test drive different places in my office to find out which spot would create an optimum background. Then I tried different kinds of lighting and camera angles that would be the most flattering to my skin. I am an image consultant after all, so clearly I would like to give my viewer the very best first impression possible.
Remember, you must look good to yourself if you want to look good to others! So, a little effort beforehand is really necessary. Put on a bit of makeup and make it a little brighter than usual. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes when on camera. Also, pay attention to your clothes. Choose clothing with solid colors. Reds and oranges are best. Wear earrings as they make you appear dressed up and ready to go. Be sure to sit up straight and smile! Think cadid camera!
Test the lighting. The last thing you want is to look like a Shar Pei dog or Frankenstein. Stay clear of lighting from below your face. And forget back lighting. What we all need is gentle lighting. Natural light is best if at all possible. Face a window or use a simple desk lamp to light up your face. This enhances your appearance and gives shape to your face. If you’re using a desk lamp, turn off the other lights in the room and close the shades.
Now that lighting has been dealt with, look for the best camera angle for your face. If you use a laptop, raise it to the level of your hairline. Center yourself in the middle of the screen and angle it slightly forward. Computer cameras have wide-angled lenses which exaggerate things that are close up like the nose! So put a little distance between you and the screen.
Be aware of the background. You want the viewer to focus on you, not what’s happening behind you.
Finally, we all make the same mistake. We look at ourselves when we should be looking at the camera. Remember we are talking to another person and not to ourselves! LOOK AT THAT LITTLE LIGHT ABOVE YOUR SCREEN.
As you can tell, I’ve given this matter a lot of serious thought and had to do quite a lot of experimenting before coming up with what works best. I encourage you to do a dry run with a friend on the other end of the camera before your next video call. Again, if you are an Apple owner, you can also use photo booth for a test.
Oh! One more thing, you do not have to face the camera. Try positioning yourself slightly sideways as it can make quite a difference.
Now let the cameras ROLL…
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Friday, October 5, 2012
With the right dress, the right accessories and fresh makeup, you can be out your office door on your way to a party or dinner in just about 20 minutes.
An elegant and simple dress that is feminine but not revealing is a perfect choice. For those in warmer climes, a pretty summer day dress with spaghetti straps can be worn with a well-chosen cardigan that can be removed before leaving the office. Of course a great choice would be the LBD--the little black dress, a requisite closet item. If it is sleeveless, wear it with a blazer and flats and come dinnertime, remove the cardigan and swap the flats for stilettos.
Absolutely essential is a complete redo of your makeup. (Keep an emergency skin care travel kit in your office drawer.) Remove all makeup, tone and moisturize your skin and then re-apply your makeup. Since evening indoor lighting is subdued, accentuate your makeup a little bit more.
Next is your hair. With your head down, brush it thoroughly to add volume. Personally, I prefer my hair to move freely. However, of you prefer to be ‘bien coiffé’ use a light hair spray.
A stunning pair of earrings that suit the shape of your face and complement your attire will boost your look to evening status and create a great impression. Should you choose to wear chandelier earrings, limit other accessories. A necklace would be a definite no-no. If you opt for a dramatic cocktail ring, wear no other jewelry except discreet earrings.
Another indispensable closet item is a sleek clutch bag. Pop it in your chic tote bag before leaving home. In it, you should have one credit card, your driver’s license, a $50 bill, red lipstick, a hand mirror and a handkerchief or tissues and, your cell phone, of course!
As for shoes, high heels but ONLY if you are able to walk straight and tall. Otherwise a pair of elegant low-heels or flats. No stockings if your legs are in great shape or wear black sexy ultra sheers. They are always flattering to one’s legs.
Choose your coat carefully that day. It should be as elegant as the clothes underneath. Remember making a great exit is as important as a great entrance. And with your beautiful red smiling lips, high heels, a clutch and erect posture, heads are sure to turn.
Relax and embrace the festive spirit.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Interestingly, strictly business attire seems to have disappeared. Only four percent of women in the United States say they wear strictly business clothes, while 31% claim to dress casually for work.
Being an Image Consultant, I naturally take great care about how I dress. It is imperative that my clothes fit perfectly and that they enhance my good features and camouflage my flaws. Unless my outfit needs to be uplifted in some way, my jewelry is minimal. As for makeup, it is religiously applied every morning. And it has to be flawless.
I know I do a better job when I am dressed for the part. Even when working from home, I dress professionally as I know my voice would project differently over the phone if I dressed down.
Here is a checklist of do’s and don’ts for you to keep in mind before heading out the door to work. I highly recommend that you place a full-length mirror next to your front door and look yourself over very carefully from the feet up. Details count!
· Shoes - clean and in immaculate condition. No scuff marks or worn-down heels! Make sure they go well with what you are wearing.
· Legwear - needs to be invisible. Only if the skin on your legs is smooth and you have no visible defects can you go barelegged to work!
· Pants – check the hemline. It should NOT touch the ground.
· Skirts/dresses - not too short, not too long, not too tight. Sit in front of a mirror and check out what others see.
· Tops - fitted yet not revealing.
· Hair and makeup - pulled together. A hint of flawless makeup.
· Accessories - good quality and discreet.
· Finishing touch - a coat or jacket will tie your entire outfit together.
· Fragrance – wear very little. Your clients and/or coworkers could be allergic.
· No cleavage.
· No sleeveless tops - unless your upper arms are super toned.
· Handbag – Keep it neat and tidy. A messy one shows you are disorganized.
· Jewelry - less is better. Save the chandelier earrings for evening.
Invest in high quality well-tailored pieces. The higher up you are on the work ladder, the better quality your clothes should be. Dress for the job you want, not the job you are in.
Find your signature piece of the season–whether it is a piece of clothing, a piece of jewelry, a handbag, or a scarf–your colleagues will admire you for your great style.
Finally, remember a good business outfit is all about fit, color and silhouette!
Knock ‘em dead!
About MichèleBelgian born Michèle Benza is a European certified Image and Stylist Consultant. She founded her eponymous image consulting and posture business in 2003 as it combined her experiences as an owner of fashion boutiques, an esthetician and Pilates instructor.
Michèle's unique blend of European flair and elegance combined with her focus on posture helps clients achieve unparalleled results. Her greatest pleasure while working with clients is witnessing their transformation as they embrace their style and new-found confidence.
The Great Divide:Wardrobe diplomacy.
Tips on the perfect closet and, more importantly, how to share it with your husband!
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
$580 - veryeickhoff.com
$650 - farfetch.com
$5,180 - net-a-porter.com
$69 - pret-a-beaute.com
$15 - chocolatetradingco.com
Thursday, August 9, 2012
|An excellent professional women's dress.|
|Colors to watch this fall.|
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
- If shoes are your weakness, the best deals are at Glory Chen and Joy Chen. If you like avant-garde shoes, hunt carefully as there are some at 50% off.
- Bottega Veneta’s spring/summer collection is already 50% off as is TUMI’s and they have great travel bags.
- MaxMara and Giorgio Armani begin their sales the second week of June.
- Price tags still a bit high for you? Then, head for the department stores for more affordable price points, as many are liquidating their spring/summer 2012 collections to make room for the next season’s trends.
Shoe by Glory Chen
Shop for now. Shop for items that fit you now and do not buy too-tight jeans thinking you’ll lose a little and it’ll fit!
Think like me. Buy fewer pieces but all high quality. In Europe almost everyone looks good even when they wear the same clothes repeatedly. The reason? Because they are of good quality. I was brought up this way too, so it doesn’t bother me at all to wear the same clothes year after year. However, I do take the opportunity to freshen up my wardrobe during the sale seasons and suggest you do the same.
Remember that size does matter. Don’t pay attention to the number on the label, just buy what fits and looks good on you.
Don’t rush. Give yourself enough time. Window-shop and ask the sales person to hold the items you like. Then return for a second look AND try them on again.
Test. Whether you are shopping for dresses, trousers or T-shirts, comfort is supreme. Take a test drive. Walk around, swing your arms back and forth and make sure the garment falls back into place. I suggest that if you can, sit on a chair in front of a mirror to see what other people see! (I’m thinking mini skirts…!)
Trust your inner voice-1. You may come across the ‘It” piece that everyone else has, but if it doesn’t meet your needs just walk on by.
If you have to try too hard to make it work, forget it. You’ll never wear the piece.
Cost per wear. Buy high-end items that you will wear more often. The more you wear them, the less expensive they’ll turn out to be.
Don’t buy an item just because it’s on sale! Don’t panic or be afraid to lose a good deal.
Trust your inner voice-2. Dare to be a little adventurous. Shake up your wardrobe by adding a few elements that you would not otherwise acquire.
Finally, remember to always check the store’s return policy!
Thursday, May 10, 2012
At the top of the list is the most important point to consider: Do not wear what everybody else is wearing unless you have the body type that suits the current trend!
To make it easy for you, here are my pointers for specific body types:
- Long waist: Super low-rise jeans are a no-no as they will hit the mid part of your hips and make your thighs look larger. And your legs will appear shorter! Better to choose a pair of jeans that either fit your waist or fall just below your navel. You can also wear high-waisted jeans as they will make your waist seem shorter and your legs longer. As a matter of fact, I fall under this body type and I find that jeans/pants in 'Petite' fit me better than a regular size. I am 5'7”.
- Triangle shape: Wear jeans that sit just on your hipbones and select bootcut legs. Avoid tapered jeans, as they will draw unwanted attention to your hips!
- Round ‘bubble’ derrière: Do not cinch your waist and do not wear jeans with faded areas on this part of your body! Wear low-waisted jeans, as they will make your derrière look more compact.
- Flat derrière: Avoid high-waisted jeans, as this cut will make your derrière look totally flat. Low cut jeans + flap pockets or just enough detailed pockets will make your bottom look perky.
- Long Legs: No, I am afraid you cannot wear cropped flared jeans, as you will look as if you grew out of them! Your best bet is to choose jeans with a long inseam, bootcut or straight-legged.
- Plus sizes: No baggy pants please! They make you look bigger. You need to wear slim-fitting, slightly low-rise jeans that just hit the hipbones. Choose darkish colors, as they will minimize your curves.
- Buffed full quads + small waist: Look for wide-leg styles. Fit your legs first, and then have the waist altered.
- All body types: Choose jeans that have at least 2% spandex.
Finally, remember jeans should never touch the floor. There should be a slight break in the front and they should fall a fraction above the ground in the back. This will prevent unsightly frayed cuffs. A frayed hem is a definite NO-NO!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
This time round, it runs the whole gamut: it is filmy, puffy, floral, colorful, and transparent. It comes in classic plain white cotton and soft or sheer voile. I like it in all these versions and it is once again an essential. And, what’s more, a classic blouse is as versatile as an LBD (Little Black Dress). It can be casual or dressy, flirtatious or sensual.
This season it appears in endless forms, from the classic tailored form that just about hugs the body, to one that billows out. Some blouses are boldly transparent while others have cascades of ruffles.
Never underestimate the importance of tops, be it tees, blouses or sweaters. Since these pieces of clothing are worn close to the face, we should not overlook their impact. Believe it or not, a top can make our complexion glow or make it look dull.
For a chic lightweight style, dare to wear a transparent blouse belted at the waist and accented with a high-waisted skirt to lengthen the legs. To add even more height, wear open toe stilettos.
La femme will wear the blouse tucked in a wide leg pair of jeans – to refine her silhouette – with long necklaces gracing her neck.
Topping off with a blouse does not mean you have to be completely covered, especially if you choose a flowing, diaphanous fabric that will play hide and seek with your body. Very flirty and seductive.
To be honest, I want a blouse right now. A lovely green one to wear with a tuxedo suit. Perfect for business!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I’ve put together my recommendations for the coming season.
BRIGHT IDEAS, BRIGHT COLORS
Spring colors are so joyful; they immediately make me feel optimistic and happy! This spring is all about mixing a marvelous palette of uplifting colors: pink, yellow, orange, blue, lilac, turquoise, and my favorite color of all, red! But finding shoes to complement this cheerful array of colors will be a challenge. My suggestion: metallic sandals. For me, silver ones are at the top of my “must buy” list.
With such a wide range of colors to choose from—yellow, orange and green to the more muted shades of lavender, blue and beige—everyone can find their perfect color. As they say in French, a chacun sa coleur!
ROCK WITH BLOCK COLORS
Dazzle with solid colors used in blocks. Wear vivid orange with bright pink. Or, a blue top with coral pants separated by a brilliant yellow, very narrow belt to accentuate the waist. A statement with a fab finishing touch!
If bright colors are not for you, look for candy couleur, aka soft but add a bold necklace that lifts the look and makes a statement.
Go for geometric prints on pants or tops. My recommendation: contrast a print with a solid pop-up color for either the top or the bottom.
Don’t be shy! If you can get away with them, wear prints from head-to-toe!
STRIPES or SEASIDE CHIC
Dazzle with horizontal stripes for tops, dresses, and jackets.
Shimmer in unexpected textures like sequins and metallic fabrics.
Stand out from the crowd! Forget the classic little black dress. This season’s little black dress is red.
The envelope please! There are a variety of ‘envelope’ style bags to choose from this season. Great from day to night.
For the lucky few, high heels are aplenty. And colorful too. BUT Learn how to walk in them! Practice in front of a mirror!
THIS and THAT
A few details to watch for this spring:
- Hemline just below the knee.
- Skirt-shorts, but choose carefully so you don’t look dowdy!
- On the beach or around the pool, Chanel suggests wearing the classic Chanel jacket over a bathing suit. And why not?
- Ribbon-edged cardigans, cropped jackets, lots of horizontal stripes everywhere, all good for updating your wardrobe!
- Every store has at least one crisped glacier-white suit.
- Jewelry is bold, really bold. Think BIG earrings.
To minimize your trendy investment, pick a colorful accessory and pair it with crisped whites.