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

Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

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Blazers for Fall – Trendy & Classic

By on Oct 5, 2017

  This season’s must-have item is not only “trendy,” it’s a twist on a classic – the menswear blazer in tweeds, plaids and flannels. Seen in New York on the street during Fashion Week, oversized blazers are the subject of several seasonal trend reports. Versatile and practical, a classic blazer is a great foundation piece in your wardrobe. Depending on fabric and fit, it can be worn with a skirt or pants for work and with jeans and a tee on the weekend. The question for this season is:  “Is the trendy blazer the best style for you?” The Classic Blazer Blazers emerged into menswear as part of the English cricket club scene in the 1880s. In a variety of striped fabrics these jackets were “a blaze of color,” hence the name “blazer.” The style became subdued in the 1930s with the modern blazer looking very similar to the British Navy reefer or pea coat but the name blazer stuck. Today the classic navy blazer is a man’s most versatile tailored jacket. The same can be said for a woman’s navy blazer. When I had to retire one last year due to longtime wear, I replaced it with Brooks Brothers’ classic two-button wool blazer. Instead of flannel or tweed (which can visually add pounds to our frame), I chose to invest in a lighter weight worsted wool. It’s ideal for cool spring and fall weather over a shirt or sweater and fits comfortably under a coat in colder weather. If I still had my corporate job in New York, this could be the jacket in my conservative navy blue suit, doing double-duty on the weekend with jeans! How to Shop for a Blazer Many of this season’s trendy blazers are intentionally oversized in cut and are long, stopping below the fullest part of the hip. What might look great on fashion influencers doesn’t always work for the rest of us. This longer length looks best on taller women and is most flattering on straighter bodies. So what should the rest of us do? Chose a jacket length and fit that is flattering to our body and pleasing in proportion. Your Best Jacket Length Jackets should be either long enough to hide the derriere or stop somewhere above the fullest...

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Dressing Well at Any Age

By on Aug 10, 2017

  To women who are of a certain age (as I am), I say, “Don’t let age or lifestyle be an obstacle to dressing well!” When you put on an outfit that flatters you and speaks to your style, you’ll feel more confident to take on any challenge, especially since dressing well is said to boost self-esteem. Putting together stylish outfits – for travel, volunteering or part-time work – takes a bit of effort. Sometimes it helps to seek out advice from others who easily express themselves through fashion to give life to what we find inspiring. An easy way for us to find this inspiration and catch up on trends is to browse the pages of online senior fashion influencers. Age is no obstacle to being a fashion icon. SeniorAdvisor.com recently published a list of 20 Senior Fashion Influencers and Resources. Getting the latest tips from these seniors who have found their unique style can help you polish your look for the day, even if you are just meeting up with friends for a game of mahjong or bridge. While the web is full of fashion influencers, there are a few I follow to help me transform my wardrobe – which is transitioning from a corporate career look to one better suited for active retirement — into a closet of trendy threads. Style at a Certain Age Beth Djalali is a blogger with a keen eye for knowing how to put timeless outfits together. Hailing from the Midwest, Beth has lived and traveled around the world. Blogging since 2014, with Style at a Certain Age, Beth offers style that is thoughtful and fashionable. Although Beth suggests a certain audience for her blog, any woman at any age can find ideas and inspiration in her understanding of how classic, chic style works. Her outfits of the day (ootd) feature versatile, affordable pieces that can be worn over and over again. I love getting Beth’s posts in my email each morning! Advanced Style Advanced Style is a blog run by photographer Ari Seth Cohen devoted to “capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set.” His first book, Advanced Style, has become a fabulous reference for me on a “strikingly fashionable...

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How to Pack for a European River Cruise

By on Jun 12, 2017

  European River cruises have become very popular and for good reason. They provide scenic, effortless sightseeing, transportation from one beautiful port city to another, and you don’t need to switch hotels every few days. How should you pack to enjoy excursions, dinners and evening events while traveling by riverboat? I just helped a client plan for her Rhine River cruise in August and my husband and I are getting ready to depart for a Danube River cruise this month, so the answer is top of mind right now! Packing light is key You’ve chosen to vacation via a riverboat, not an ocean cruise ship! There are distinct differences between the two that impact packing: •  Riverboats are limited in size by the dimension of the river locks and the height of bridges. Individual cabins range from very compact to small unless you have a suite. •  Storage space is minimal so even if you wanted to pack a different outfit for each day and evening, there is little room for it. Closets are quite small and drawer space is limited. •  Luggage is stored under the bed so it’s not possible to live out of a suitcase (as I usually do in a hotel room). This is the time to pack light. My client and her husband, as well as I and mine, are each packing one 21” rolling bag (that can be checked or carried onto the plane) and a smaller “personal item” to carry on the plane (a tote for the ladies, a canvas briefcase or duffel for the men, that will fit under the seat). Wardrobe tips River cruises tend to be more casual than ocean cruises. Cruise lines send out helpful packing lists with the cruise itinerary but you need to be the one to research weather forecasts. Dress for comfort and function. For cooler climates, layer; for warm, pack breathable fabrics. (See my post on How to Choose Smart Travel Fabrics.) ŸŸ•  To avoid over packing, take a “less is more” approach to your wardrobe. Each piece should work in a variety of ways and be able to be worn more than once while still looking fresh. This is when a capsule wardrobe takes top billing! Pick...

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Polish Your Look With a Scarf

By on Feb 21, 2017

    Practical and versatile, scarves are valuable accessories that can expand your wardrobe, update an outfit and polish your look. Scarves can also be used to help project your personal style – some prints say “classic” while others express a more “romantic” or “dramatic” feel. Multi-colored scarves are excellent tools for linking separates in different colors. And as a bonus, a scarf worn near your face draws attention up and away from figure challenges! Good scarves never go out of style – by investing in scarves you love and following current scarf tying trends you can use a great scarf for years.   What’s Your Best Scarf Look? Just as there are elements of clothing design that suit one body type better than another, there are certain types of scarves that are a better fit for some women than for others. Color is not the only consideration – fabric, shape and size are equally important to creating a flattering look: ● If you are petite, you need to be careful that a scarf does not overwhelm you. If it seems that all you see is scarf when you look in the mirror, the scarf is wearing you versus working for you. ●  If you have a very full bust, stay away from scarf volume at your bustline. An oblong lightweight scarf tied in a long vertical line will be much more flattering. ●  Tie a scarf around your waist to highlight a narrow waistline or give the illusion of a waistline curve. (Slip a colorful scarf through the loops of your jeans and tie a knot – instant polish!) ● If you are tall and thin, you can wear larger scarves and fuller fabrics. If you are just the opposite keep in mind that a scarf tied near the neckline draws attention upward, creating a taller, trimmer appearance.   Scarf Design Basics ●  Oblong (typically 15” x 60”) scarves are considered the most versatile for tying, although a large square can be folded into a triangle or rectangle before tying, providing options. My personal favorite is a 36” square that I can wear at my neck, around the shoulders, or tie at my waist. ●  Silk scarves are the easiest to tie and drape...

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New Year Resolution: Streamline Your Wardrobe

By on Jan 9, 2017

  Guest post by Alexandria Heinz   A New Year means time for new resolutions. If you’re constantly on the go and looking for a way to simplify your life, this could be the time to resolve to streamline your wardrobe. How? With a capsule wardrobe, a curation of stable pieces that you can mix and match. A capsule wardrobe can save you future time and money and assure that most of your clothing goes together. The first step to creating a capsule wardrobe is to clean out your closet. This might be something you dread doing, but with the help of the flow chart below created by American Eagle, it won’t be so hard! Just answer a few simple questions to determine if you should keep, trash, donate or sell your items. Make sure to dispose of the items that you’re not keeping within a week and store or organize items that aren’t seasonal in order to streamline your closet. If you travel frequently, organize your essential travel pieces in a certain section of your closet to make packing easier. Happy New Year and good luck!       Leslie’s note: The flow chart by American Eagle first appeared in a post on capsule wardrobes in AEO, the American Eagle Outfitters blog and is reprinted here with permission. Why not print it and tack it in your closest for ongoing reference? That’s what I...

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