Leslie Willmott | Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Posts by Leslie

How to Build Your Wardrobe With Your Best Colors – Part 2

By on Aug 13, 2014

The Strategic Use of Color Building a wardrobe based on your most flattering colors is both an art and a science. This rings true not only in identifying your most flattering colors, as discussed in my previous post, but also in how you work with your color palette. Here’s an overview of your color groups and how I guide my clients to use color strategically as they build their wardrobes: Neutrals – Wardrobe Workhorses Your best neutrals are those with the same undertone (cool or warm) as your own coloring. The true neutrals are black, white, and grey but certain colors can be neutrals too:  beige, brown, burgundy, navy, forest green, teal, plum. Do you see lots of neutrals in your closet? That’s good news as they are your best choice for wardrobe basics. Neutrals give you the most wardrobe mileage because they can be worn again and again without being remembered. They act as backdrops for your personal coloring and best fashion colors. Your most flattering neutrals are those that repeat part of your personal coloring – hair, skin or eyes. The most important neutral is your natural hair color. (I often advise women to make major wardrobe purchases, such as a coat, in their hair color.) Wearing Neutrals: Dressing head-to-toe in neutrals can be a sophisticated, elegant look but only if you avoid monotony by incorporating two of the following: contrasts in light and dark values, texture, print or shine, or unusual design lines. A neutral colored suit, pant and skirt can play multiple roles in your wardrobe when you start combining them with a scarf, blouse, or jacket in one of the fashion colors your color analyst gave you. Black & White Your closet may be as full of black as mine is (it’s my favorite for travel). Yet, black is not as flattering on many women as other neutrals. Why? It’s not a part of most women’s personal coloring. If this is true for you but you’re not ready to eliminate black from your wardrobe, top those pants and skirts with your best fashion colors. What about that black suit or jacket? Here’s a tip Nancy Nix-Rice gives in her new Looking Good…Every Day  book:  Wear a black jacket with a...

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How to Build Your Wardrobe With Your Best Colors – Part 1

By on Jul 8, 2014

  The first thing people notice about you is the color you are wearing. Color has the power to influence your emotions and those of the people around you. It also has the power to enhance your personal appearance. Who doesn’t want to look their best? When you wear a color that is right for you, your personal coloring comes alive – your skin glows, your eyes are bright, and your hair is filled with highlights. The wrong color can overpower or drain you, cast shadows that emphasize under-eye circles, or dull your hair and eyes. At its worse, the wrong color can be aging! The good news is color is free with every garment you buy. It doesn’t cost any more to buy that blouse in a color that makes you glow than to buy it in a color that does nothing for you; worse yet, one that makes you look tired or older. Knowing your best colors can save you money! The closet of the average American woman represents a minimum investment of $3000. Knowing your best colors guides that investment in the most positive direction and reduces impulse buying. And shopping with your best colors in mind creates a natural harmony within your wardrobe, leading to “happy accidents” – things just seem to go together! How do you identify your best colors? Pay close attention to what people say. Unsolicited compliments like, “You look terrific!” are usually given because the speaker is reacting to the positive effect of a color on you. However, if they say “Wow, that’s a gorgeous color!” they are often reacting to the color, and not to its effect on you. Look in your closet. What colors are your “reliables”? What colors are the items you never wear? Take note. Most people have heard of color analysis but few understand the theory behind it. The color wheel is a systematic representation of all of the colors we see, organized according to the proportion of warm yellow pigment or cool blue pigment each color contains. Just as colors are classified by temperature, humans can be described as warm or cool based on their personal coloring. Professional Color Consultants agree – the most flattering colors...

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How to Buy the Perfect White Shirt

By on Apr 7, 2014

In the middle of my own Spring/Summer “closet audit” I counted ten white cotton shirts…and I’m not retiring any of them! A white cotton shirt is crisp, clean and sophisticated. It provides instant polish whether worn on its own or under a suit or sweater. It’s the ultimate all-season wardrobe essential. As many of my clients have agreed, you really can’t have too many! A classic white shirt can bridge from business to travel to casual. I’ve worn my long-sleeved shirts under business suit jackets in the winter, with just a sweater over my shoulders in the spring and fall, and with a pair of jeans year-round. A sleeveless white shirt worn under a jacket was my savior for business during hot summer days in New York City – crisp yet cool. As for the ones with French cuffs (yes, I used to love to wear fancy cuff links to work!) – I simply roll the cuff up now for my new non-corporate lifestyle. And because most of my shirts are “no-iron,” they travel beautifully! With so many versions of a classic white shirt available, how do you select the one that’s right for you? Halsbrook (one of my favorite online stores to window-shop!) recently shared the details they look for when selecting shirts to sell on their website: Structured collar: The shirt collar brightens the face and adds a refined finish. Shirts with substantial, sturdy collars that will stay standing are a must. Stretch cotton: Adding a bit of stretch to your classic cotton shirt staves off wrinkling and allows for comfortable all-day wear. Seaming: Regardless of your body shape, when it comes to cotton shirts, a tailored style is always more flattering than a loose sack shape.  Princess seaming or darting ensure smooth, long lines in body-skimming styles. Sheer Factor: Lightweight enough to be layered and opaque enough to wear without an underpinning. No need to fear unwanted lingerie exposure. Shirttail: A rounded shirttail hem reduces bulk when tucking in and draws attention to your center as opposed to your hips when worn out. My all time favorite crisp white shirt is a Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Dress Shirt specially treated to remain virtually wrinkle-free and machine washable. And it has many...

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Wake Up Your Winter Wardrobe

By on Jan 31, 2014

  It’s the end of January and winter is in full swing with the “polar vortex”  having made another round through the east, both north and south! It’s enough to give you the blues or make you want to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed. But we all need to move through our day … and our wardrobe needs to support us. Does your closet inspire you or is it experiencing a deep freeze, too? With most stores offering deep discounts during clearance sales, it’s tempting to run out and buy something new … and risk dipping into your clothing budget on something you don’t need (save it for spring additions!). Better to shop in your own closet to wake up your wardrobe. Here’s a four-step process to help you refresh your winter basics: 1.  Get inspired – Flip through magazines and catalogs or surf the Internet. It won’t cost you anything to do a little research and see how items similar to those you own are put together to create various looks. 2.  Mix up your pieces – If you’ve been wearing your clothes in the same combinations over and over, now’s the time to look at each piece differently. Lay different tops and bottoms out on your bed and start putting together new combinations – dressy tops with tailored pants and a jacket for work, or with a sweater and a pair of jeans for the weekend. Think out of the box: combine different textures and colors than you’ve done in the past. Create “scarecrows” of new looks, then take a picture so you don’t forget them. 3. Add Color – especially if you’ve been living in dark colors or black since the fall. If you’ve had your colors done, know that nearly any two colors in your palette can be used together so don’t hold back. (For those unexpected color mixes, a scarf or a piece of jewelry with both colors in it will link them together … and give you comfort that it works!) I had great fun going into my closet and discovering that a favorite jacket in regal purple from my corporate days, teamed with a yellow t-shirt and my basic black jeans gave me...

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Three Quick Wardrobe Strategies for the Holidays

By on Dec 17, 2013

  December brings the fun – and frenzy – of holiday activities. I suggest you streamline your wardrobe so you don’t waste time and energy wondering what to wear as you meet the multiple demands of the season. That’s being smart! Make a list of what’s on your calendar, special events you’ll be attending, and when you’ll need to go from one venue to another (for example, from the office to a cocktail party; from a day of sightseeing right into dinner; or from your child’s school event to a holiday concert). Choose just a few go-to pieces that will meet your needs. These looks can be as subtle or overt as you like, but the goal is that these pieces be versatile, comfortable, make you feel great and look “smartly stylish” (read “chic”)! Start with one core item and build from there. Here are three strategies for three lifestyles:   1. Career – Your core may be a dress or a suit. Use accessories and fabrics to change your outfit from desk to dinner-appropriate:  Switch to a silk or silky blouse and switch from your classic pumps to a strappy heel.   2. Travel – Scarves, costume jewelry and glitter – in a top, a shawl, or scarf – and an evening clutch are my favorites for dressing up those basic black pants that take me from museum to shopping to dinner on a holiday city tour.   3. Casual – Start with a pant, legging or dark wash jean. Then choose a top for each event on your list (and yes, this might be the right time to find a sparkly sweater on sale!)  Add a jacket or cozy wrap cardigan (active lifestyles beg for fabrics with stretch for comfort). For holiday flair, slip on a pair of embellished flats or heels, perhaps something in a glittery metallic.   With so much else going on, now is the time to stick to what you know, and most of all, what feels good.  Just because it’s comfy doesn’t mean it’s not chic – when you choose the right pieces, your simple uniform can take you through your days and into your nights without missing a beat!  ...

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