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

Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

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6 Strategies for Packing Light

By on Apr 8, 2018

  How many times have you struggled with a large suitcase on a trip and returned home to exclaim, “I took way too much and didn’t need half of what I packed!” Do I now hear a vow that you will fine tune your packing skills . . . but you don’t know how? “Pack light, pack smart” is my mantra and it can be yours, too. My husband and I will be vacationing in Italy for 3 weeks in May, first in Umbria where we have rented a villa, then down to Puglia and the coast on the Adriatic Sea. I’ve already started planning my wardrobe, focused on day touring, dining out and entertaining friends. I’ll be packing it all into a 21-inch carry-on bag that will make plane, train and car travel easier. How? Here are six wardrobe strategies to help you scale down to one light suitcase. I’ve also noted some of my favorite travel wardrobe pieces: 1. Limit your color palette. Keep it simple and plan around 2 or 3 neutral colors. For spring travel, my favorites are black and beige. Worn together they are a classic combination; independently both mix well with other colors. If you’re traveling to an urban destination any combination of black, white, navy and gray is good. For a beach or country trip, khaki and white are good choices for your basics. Scarves are lightweight additions to add pops of color. 2. Pack versatile pieces that can mix and match and plan to wear each item more than once. The knit jacket that I plan to wear on the plane with a t-shirt and leggings can also be worn with my jeans for touring or dressed up for a casual dinner. Consider items that can do double duty, such as a blouse that can also be worn jacket-style over a camisole, a long t-shirt that can serve as a pool cover-up, flip flops as slippers and poolside wear. 3. Take more tops than bottoms. Multiple tops will maximize the wear of a pant or skirt and tops weigh less, take less room, and are easier to launder. Unless you will be able to do machine laundry, pack tops that you can hand wash, drip-dry, and don’t require ironing. (A personal favorite...

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Wake Up Your Winter Wardrobe!

By on Jan 26, 2018

  The holidays are over and we’re into the New Year. How I would love to hit the “total refresh” button on my closet but it isn’t Spring yet! If winter is starting to make you, too, feel drab, you might need to wake up your wardrobe. When it’s cold or gray or snowy outside, our closets need to cheer us up, make us feel good. Does your closet inspire you . . . or is it in a deep freeze with lots of black, gray or dark brown, craving some spring-like color? With most stores offering deep discounts during clearance sales, it’s tempting to run out and buy something new. Maximize your time and money – shop for colors that mix with your winter basics but can also move into spring. And, if your budget is tight, you just might be able to perk up your wardrobe up by shopping in your own closet – I did! Here’s a fun and easy four-step process to guide you whether you are shopping in your closet or the stores: 1. Get inspired – Flip through fashion magazines and store catalogs and peruse Pinterest for fashion looks that suit your style. Focus on how items similar to those you own are put together to create various looks. This week I went to a few fashion retail sites that feature “Look Books” – Halsbrook, Cabi, Carlisle and Worth – to find items similar to those in my closet and get ideas to perk them up (a scarf, jewelry, a different way to wear it). I “pinned” many photos and set up my own “Look Book” board in Pinterest so I wouldn’t forget. (I do this for all of my clients but had neglected myself!)   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....

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Easy Wardrobe Strategies for the Holidays

By on Dec 1, 2017

  The holiday season has arrived and with it the fun and frenzy of parties and pageants, cocktails and dinners. What to wear to meet the multiple demands of the season? If you streamline your wardrobe you won’t waste time and energy wondering. Don’t get stressed – keep it simple and follow these guidelines: •  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). •  The good news is that “dressing up” is no longer the norm. But you do want to look polished and put together. 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, and stylish and make you feel great! •  If a party invitation specifies attire such as “cocktail” or “semi-formal”, or “festive” or “casual chic” read my previous holiday post for guidelines on how to interpret holiday dress codes.   Streamline Your Dressing Start with one core item and build from there. Here are three strategies for three lifestyles: 1. Career – Your core might 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 from your classic pumps to a strappy heel for the evening. Note: If you have a holiday business event to attend, you’ll want to wear something business appropriate that also feels festive. No slinky or overly sexy dresses! Let your jewelry, or perhaps a satin blouse, add the holiday flare to your business suit, be it with a skirt or pant. 2. Casual – Think “casual chic”. Start with a pant, legging or dark wash skinny jean. Then choose a top for each event on your list. You might find a glittery sweater on sale! And you can get lots of mileage from one pair of dark solid-color pants – no one is going to remember you wore them at...

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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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