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

Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Posts by Leslie

The Secrets of Dressing to Suit Your Style

By on May 21, 2015

  Looking great is less about what’s “in” and what’s “out” and more about what works best for YOU. Whether you are reaching for the next level in your career or embracing a lifestyle change, developing a style that is in sync with who you are says to everyone who sees you “I know who I am”. Style is an art and a science and it is the sum of who we are. It’s not about beauty; it’s about being inherently individual, distinctive, and many times original. There’s a saying that you either have it or you don’t, but I believe having style in how you dress can be learned and developed. The skill of dressing your best is developed through knowledge and use of your most flattering colors – your color style – plus an understanding of your body style and how to dress it in the most flattering way. But it’s your personal style — your spirit, your character — that pulls your look together. If you ignore your personal style and only buy clothes because they are the latest “must haves” or trends of the season, you lose your identity and risk wasting your clothing dollars.   Personal Style How often have you tried something on and said, “It’s just not me.” Why not? It was not reflecting your “personal style”. It’s important to understand and respect what is most comfortable for you to wear, what feels like you. Then, to present your best self, relate it to the fashion style that’s appropriate for your lifestyle. Here are the five most often referenced fashion personality types and characteristics of each: Tailored Classic – you like an understated, refined look with simple lines and balanced proportions. Sportive – you like comfortable clothing – sportswear that’s suitable for active sports and casual lifestyles. Romantic – you like soft, unstructured, flowing clothing and very feminine touches. Dramatic – you like bold lines, intense colors, striking effects. Creative/Artistic – you like imaginative, artistic, unconventional mixtures. Which personality type feels most like you? This is the type that reflects your most dominant personal style. Do any of the other styles also resonate with you? You might be a combination of these styles, as many women are. However, you...

Read More

Dressing Your Best: The Rule of Thirds

By on Apr 22, 2015

  “Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.” — Coco Chanel How many times have you gotten dressed, looked in the mirror and said “Something looks ‘off’ here”? It might simply be a matter of proportions. Proportion is the framework with which we build our outfits, consciously or not. And the relative proportion of color or design elements can make or break a look. There are many guidelines I use to help to determine what looks best on me and on others when combining separates. One of the most useful is the Golden Ratio – also called the Golden Mean – a ratio that appears in nature that we find aesthetically pleasing. The Golden Ratio has applications in mathematics, architecture and art…and also fashion. The ancient Greeks claimed that a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio is the most aesthetically pleasing division of spaces. In fashion, this is often referred to as “the rule of thirds”. Look at the Eiffel Tower, considered one of the greatest structures ever erected. It breaks visually into roughly 2/3 at the top, 1/3 at the bottom. Painters and photographers use visual applications of the same ratio to compose their works. How do you apply this to dressing in a way that is proportionally most pleasing to the eye?   Combining Separates A balanced one-to-one ratio can be dull or boring. Unbalanced proportions are much more interesting and pleasing to look at. As you put items together, think in terms of dividing your overall look into thirds rather than halves or quarters: •  Combine items that are uneven in proportion to each other: Instead of two items that are the same length, look for a long and a shorter garment to put together: – The blue-gray suit in the illustration on the far left is boxy looking because the jacket and skirt are about the same length (1/2 to 1/2 as parts of the whole ensemble). A short jacket looks best with a longer skirt or trousers. The Chanel suit in the illustration at the top of this article is more interesting because the short jacket tops a longer length skirt. – A longer jacket looks best over a short skirt (see the tan suit above right, which is a 2/3 to 1/3...

Read More

How to Dress for Your Body Type – It’s a Balancing Act!

By on Feb 17, 2015

Do you wish you were thinner or taller? Can’t seem to shrink your middle with dieting? Do you think you have a better face than figure? Knowing and embracing your body shape and type is the first step to finding clothes that fit and flatter. Using the power of illusion is the second. Few women have a perfectly proportioned body, but clothing and accessories can help create the illusion of one. The principles are not complicated: Emphasize your best features and de-emphasize the not-so-good ones.   Your Body Type & Your Fashion Goal Fashion’s ideal female figure is evenly proportioned with hips just slightly narrower than shoulders so garments fall freely over the hips. Most of us, however, are not evenly proportioned so our fashion goals are simple balancing acts. I use the following definitions and guidelines with my clients: Triangle: Your hips are wider than your shoulders. Goal: Add volume to your shoulders and upper body and minimize your hips. Rectangle: Your hips and shoulders are balanced but waistline is not well defined. Goal: Create curves and the illusion of a waistline. Inverted Triangle: Your shoulders are wider than your hips. Goal: Accentuate your lower body and soften your shoulders and upper body. Hourglass: Your hips and shoulders are balanced and waistline is defined. Goal: You want to show off your curves…but without going overboard. Round (or Oval): Your waist area is wider than your shoulder or hips. Goal: Elongate your torso and create the illusion of a waist. The clothing that fits you best has a silhouette similar to your own. Each body type can wear any of the silhouettes but some will be more flattering than others. Keeping your fashion goal in mind, it becomes a balancing act with the illusion of ideal proportions the end goal. How to Create the Illusion of “Ideal” When evaluating a garment or accessory, look in the mirror and ask yourself: What are my best assets? Does this show them off? Does it take the eye away from those body areas I don’t want to emphasize? Here are nine easy styling tips to help you choose what to wear to balance your body shape, create desired illusions, and look your best: 1. Shoulder shapes – the best tool for making most women appear...

Read More

It’s Time to Take Control of Your Closet!

By on Jan 14, 2015

You can’t fit another hanger onto the rack without forcing it in? The closet rod is bending, or worse yet, it’s pulling away from the wall? You have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear? I think I just heard your New Year’s resolution loud and clear: “I’m going to clean out my closet!” Congratulations! A well-edited and organized closet not only alleviates stress, but it can also minimize future expense. It’s a critical step to streamlining your routine and having a wardrobe that works for you not against you. Most women wear only 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. Closet clutter causes confusion and a closet overflowing with clothes you don’t wear slows you down. Cleaning out and organizing your closet doesn’t have to be painful. Why not set aside some time now, at the beginning of the year, to gain control of your closet? GET READY! Schedule two-hour blocks of time over a week, or one long morning or afternoon. Set the mood with music and pour a cup of coffee…or a glass of wine, depending upon the time of day! Style your hair and put on your makeup and good underwear. Yes, you’ll be trying on most of your clothes and nothing will look good if you don’t. GET SET! Gather these important tools: 1. Full-length mirror – if not already installed, it’s an investment you must make, even if it’s the simple over-the-door variety. 2. Sticky notes to label items needing repair or alteration. 3. Large trash bags labeled: “Consign”, “Donate”, “Toss”. 4. Quality hangers to replace any wire ones you’re currently using (see tips below). GO! 1. Pull everything out of your closet and drawers. (If you live in an area with a change of seasons, focus on clothing for the current season and repeat this process at the beginning of the next season.) Your goal is to divide and conquer: What to “Keep” vs. what to “Cast Off”. 2. Group like items together. If you have six pairs of black pants you’ll want to evaluate them against one another. I like to start with bottoms, then tops, dresses and shoes. 3. Don’t forget your underwear, socks and hosiery, and accessories...

Read More

Ten Tips for a “Carry-on” Vacation Wardrobe

By on Oct 1, 2014

I’m leaving on a two-week trip to Northern Italy tomorrow that will take me from the city of Milan to the coastal and casual Cinque Terre, and then up to Lake Como. While planning my wardrobe, I’ve focused on traveling light while meeting the changing weather conditions that autumn brings. And I’ll be packing it all into one 22-inch carry-on bag that will make both plane and train travel easier. “Pack light” is my mantra and should be yours, too. Here are ten guidelines – plus a peek into what I’m packing – to help you plan your vacation wardrobe and scale down to one carry-on bag: 1. Limit your color palette. Plan everything around a basic neutral color. Choose medium to dark solid colors for your main wardrobe pieces (my personal favorites are black and charcoal grey – they coordinate easily and don’t scream “I’m a tourist!”). Add color with scarves. 2. Choose versatile pieces that can mix and match and let go of the idea of wearing a different outfit each day. Plan to wear each item more than once. For example, a blazer worn on the plane can also be worn casually with jeans or dressed up for dinner. This is the “capsule wardrobe” concept and you’ll find many examples on Pinterest. My own wardrobe is quite similar to this one from Target. Note: Pack clothes that you love, so you feel good wearing the same things many times in different combinations. I’m taking a favorite grey wool doubleknit cardigan jacket, plus two lightweight cardigan sweaters, one beige (cotton), one black (merino wool). Both are ¾ length and can be layered over everything for day or evening. 3. Take more tops than bottoms. Every top should go with every bottom. Several tops will maximize the wear of your bottoms; and they weigh less, take less room, and are easier to launder. Tops, bottoms…How many pieces do you need? Two or three pairs of pants, plus one jacket, plus four to six tops can meet your needs for one week. For two or more weeks, I take one more bottom (pant or skirt) and more tops and launder/clean any items that need it before repeating. For this trip, I’m packing two pairs of pants for day...

Read More