Category Archives: Dresses

How to shop for dresses

Cannes we get a sleeve up in here? And the answer is yes.

sleeved dresses

Can we take a moment to talk about the loooong overdue resurgence of sleeved dresses on the red carpet?? Case in point, Cannes. As I was scrolling through some pics this morning, I was beyond delighted to see sleeve after sleeve after sleeve attached to the gowns. Of course not all of them were necessarily attractive, but hey, it’s a start right?

Many of my clients consider sleeves to be a non-negotiable when seeking out a formal or semi-formal dress. And while there are add-on options to cover arms, it’s always nice to be able to find an incredible dress and wear as is. Personally, I find a sleeved dress to be eternally elegant, regardless of its function.

I’m liking the different ways the Cannes ladies went about a sleeve: lace, semi-sheer, off the shoulder, and even a belted jacket as part of the ensemble (my kind of look).

And a HUGE round of applause to Jane Fonda, who continues her reign as queen of the bold hued long-sleeved gown.

Follow my Pinterest board for more fierce red carpet looks (both with and without sleeves).

Oscars 2013: Another year, another batch of dresses to critique

You guys rock for keeping the Oscar style commentary afloat on the TRS Facebook page last night as I was mid-air and sans wifi. Looks like Jessica Chastain was a fan favorite, with Anne Hathaway’s nipples coming in not far behind.

I’ve had a chance to pour over pics from last night’s awards, and here’s what I think. My best-dressed accolades go to Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, and….. Jane Fonda!

Charlize Theron oscars gownjennifer lawrence

Both Charlize and Jennifer looked polished and perfect in Dior without overdoing it with big bling or messy details. Yes, JLawr’s dress was pouffy, but the neckline and color made for an elegant choice.

kerry washington

Kerry Washington’s Miu Miu just seemed like a fresh departure from standard red carpet fare, without trying too hard. And I appreciate that.

Jane Fonda

Lastly–and I know I’ll catch flak for this–I adored Jane Fonda’s Versace look! It was a bit Dynasty, I get it. BUT it was well-fitted, sexy without being slutty, and edgy in a fun way. Plus it had sleeves. I loved it.

Unfortunately, I just can’t get onboard the Chastain train. I think she always looks fine, but just not amazing. I don’t know. She bothers me. Maybe it’s something I need to work out with my therapist.

And btw, I don’t think enough praise/attention is paid to the dresses that show up to the after parties. Some of them I liked better than the awards gowns. Check out the Pinterest board I created to showcase my faves. What do you think?

 

 

TRS on Dr. Oz’s YouBeauty!

It’s taken me a couple of days to play major catch-up after vacay, but I am BACK. Get excited.

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for Dr. Oz’s site, YouBeauty, and the article went live while I was away. Apologies for the late notice, but here it is!

I talk about how to dress correctly for your chest size, whether you’re big, small, or somewhere in between.

But, before you start getting dressed, always, always remember to wear the right bra. It’s worth the time and money to find a bra specialist who can fit you. I did it about a year ago, and was a full cup size larger than I thought. Now, wearing the right bra makes me stand taller and more confident. And I’m not constantly fussing with my underwires or double boob. (Major department stores such as Nordstrom or Saks often have bra specialists on hand to fit you, and you don’t even have to make an appointment.)

Check out the whole article here, and stay tuned for more of my oh so expert contributions to YouBeauty.com.

They are GIVING things away

I’m not big on sales posts, but I feel it is my duty to spread the word about the incredible discounts I’ve been seeing on my shopping excursions around New York and New Jersey. Sure, it’s all summer stuff, but it IS still summer. And the prices are really good.

Most of the sales are in actual stores, but there are decent e-deals to be had if you don’t feel like leaving your air-conditioned home. Some of the prices are the same online, while others are cheaper in-store because of random discounts.

Here are five you should check out:

Old Navy – Their skirts are 75% off, which means I paid six bucks for a slouchy, wear-with-anything black one.  Also great deals on swimwear.

LOFT – Dresses are 40% off, including some easygoing cotton ones.

Filene’s Basement– Lately, Filene’s has been offering very chic designer labels for very cheap. The one in NYC has a bunch of D&G, Missoni, and Piazza Sempione for 75% off. I found $400 white Dolce & Gabbana jeans marked down to $99. (They don’t currently have an online store.)

J. Crew – If you’re a shorts kind of gal, then go to J. Crew now. I don’t usually shop there because I think they’re a tad overpriced, but I found the above pair for 32 bucks.

Lord & Taylor – Good ol’ L&T always has some sale going on, and right now, it’s on shoes. I stocked up on three different sandals–one evening, one dressy day, one casual day–all for under $100. You often need a coupon there to tap into the sale, but you can print it directly from their site.

Know of any other fantastic summer sales? Share the love in the comments section or on our Facebook page!

Daisy Fuentes is responsible for my new favorite maxi dress

I went shopping at Kohl’s recently–a longtime favorite for bargain finds–and was both surprised and a little weirded out by the fact that the Daisy Fuentes clothes are actually… cute. This line has been at Kohl’s for a while now, but I’ve hardly ever noticed it. Blame it on strategic floor placement, but instead of heading to Vera, I went straight for the Daisy.

The current Fuentes line is contemporary, feminine, and frills-free–especially the dresses.

I went home with this really great maxi dress with a drawstring Empire waist and flattering skirt. A customer’s online review says it all:

“I love this dress. I am 5’8” tall and I always have trouble finding a maxi that is the right length for me and this is perfect, it rests on the top of my foot just where I want it to. I also have a larger bust, and slightly curvy hips, this dress hit me in all of the right places and is not too clingy or tight.

Agreed! And it’s only 36 bucks.

This is my ‘don’t even think about getting hair on my all-black maxi dress’ pose.

There are some other fun frocks on the Kohl’s website, and they’re all on sale! Perfect for chic summer style you don’t have to think about.

Styling note: The front dips low, so wear with a fitted tank underneath.

It’s hot! But you have to wear clothes

Here’s my obligatory what to wear when it’s hot post. Because if you haven’t noticed, it’s HOT.

When the weather becomes this annoying, my advice is to keep it simple with an attractive dress that you can throw a blazer over when you head into your sub-zero office building.

Yet, not just any dress will cut it. There are some things to be careful of when choosing the right one for hot, sticky weather:

1. Opt for a print first. A printed fabric is going to hide your sweat marks, especially the ones you get from sitting down (I believe they call that swamp butt?). A bolder print does well to camouflage any sweat that will appear in that region or elsewhere. This one from Gap is a great example, as it offers a darker print. And although it’s casual, the addition of a blazer would make the look completely appropriate for an office. Please, allow me to model for you. (My dress is BCBG, but same idea.)

2. If you really want to stay solid, then choose black. This will hide sweat marks better than other solid colors.  And again, this can be dressed up with a blazer or light cardigan. Add some funky jewelry and you’re good to go.

3. Pick a light fabric that breathes. Pure cotton or a cotton blend is ideal, but some synthetics can have a similar feel if they’re not too heavy. And although silk is technically light, this is not your friend in a humid atmosphere as it shows sweat more than anything.

4. Look for a silhouette that moves. A fuller skirt will allow some breathing room around your legs, while something more fitted will just feel uncomfortable. The length doesn’t necessarily matter as long as it’s not tight. You can also choose a shift style, which hangs loosely from the neck down (like the Kohl’s Vera Wang one above).

If dresses aren’t your thing–I know in hot weather sometimes the swishing together of the thighs proves highly uncomfortable–then you can choose a top and pant, but keep the same rules in mind. Relaxed silhouette, print or dark color, and breathable fabric.

How to wear it: summer neutrals

I’ve been late in the game for gathering summer basics, so I reserved this past weekend for a shopping excursion with Karen. She’s always thrilled to come along whenever I hit up Lord & Taylor and Loehmann’s. The trip was a great success, and I ended up buying a boatload of neutral-hued pieces. While they may seem boring and bland, neutrals are an AMAZING way to get you through the summer. The different shades are ideal for mixing and matching together: white, light khaki, dark khaki, olive, beige, blush, and white. They all look good with each other.

The key is to add strategic bits of color to make each ensemble really pop.

Below are pics of some purchases and how I plan to jazz them up:

L&T had a bunch of lightweight dresses. This Jones New York shirt dress is a great office option, while the white and green frocks (both from BCBGeneration) are fun for the weekend or casual evening events.

All three offer an ideal neutral backdrop for a bib necklace in wow yellow. This brightens up your face without being overbearing. And if you’re feeling bold, you can also opt for a funky turquoise bracelet.

This Kate Hill belted jacket was a cool find, with its preppyish checkered print. And when I spotted this white Cynthia Steffe blazer in Loehmann’s, I couldn’t believe my luck. I have the exact same blazer already in a deep green, and have worn it to pieces. The slouchy, laid-back silhouette caught Karen’s eye as well, and we both ended up getting one–she opted for the khaki color.

All of these are perfect partners for a pair of colorful pants (red is the hue du jour). And if you want to take it to the next level, team with a soft pink top. Colorblocking at its finest.

I snapped this pic of me in the L&T dressing room where I fell in love with a light khaki button-down from Kate Hill. Karen was underwhelmed by the shirt when I picked it off the rack, but I knew it had potential. And I was right! She loved it so much on me, that she bought one for herself in white. She wanted to copy this Jones look we had seen earlier–neutralblocking as I like to call it. I’m excited to try the same effect with khaki on top and white on the bottom.

 

And what will make this look seem fresh and exciting is a pop of color using earrings, bold sandals, or both.

Once you get used to supporting neutral tones with a dash of color, you can start experimenting with combining two pops at once. Don’t worry. You won’t go overboard as long as you have the neutral foundation to keep things grounded.

Dreaded dress shopping

For a whole lot of women, dress shopping just plain stinks. Over and over I hear clients tell me that they just won’t wear a dress. Period. And not because they wouldn’t like to… they just don’t know how to shop for the right one.

When Karen and I embarked upon a journey for the perfect baby shower ensemble, I decided there would be no better time to talk about dresses, and how women over 40 can begin to sort out what shapes to look for, and how to accessorize to make the dress work for you.

THE SHIFT DRESS

Our first find was this straight-cut knit shift dress from Nordstrom Rack. A lot of women shy away from the up-and-down cut for fear of unwanted clinging to the hips or chest. The secret is to buy bigger!

This dress fell straight over Karen’s hips because it was a size larger than she usually buys. And, yes, this will most likely make the top half too roomy, but that’s easily fixed either by getting the dress altered, or simply layering something on top. Karen knew she would never be wearing the dress alone, so it wasn’t a problem having the armholes be a bit roomy.

Look how great this dress looks with either a long and loose cardigan or a shorter one that’s cinched at the waist. Both are flattering without looking frumpy.

THE SHEATH DRESS

The second dress option was a slightly more fitted sheath dress with vertical seams. FYI, a sheath dress has more body definition, while a shift is looser.

The key to making this shape work for you? Tailoring. This sounds labor-intensive, but I swear a little bit of adjusting goes a long way. You can also buy bigger with this shape of dress. That way it will be easier to take in the parts that are too loose. Always buy a dress that fits you at your thickest or widest part. Then get the other parts taken in by a pro.

We added a loose crochet cardigan that falls a little above the hip. The monochromatic look creates a long, elegant silhouette.

Finally, we added this funky necklace from Banana Republic (not online, sorry). It stands out brilliantly against the neutral backdrop.

THE TUNIC DRESS

A third shape to look for is the tunic dress. This is similar to the shift dress, but with sleeves. It’s a nice choice if you don’t want to cover your arms with a cardigan. This one had a romantic velvet detail over sheer fabric. It gives a sultry feel without baring anything.

As you can see above, she ended up going with the shift and long black cardigan. An elegant choice for baby shower chic.

There are also full-skirted dress options that are incredibly attractive on women with butts or hips! Check them out here.

What the heck to wear to a baby shower

My pregnant and glowing cousin had a baby shower last weekend, which became the PERFECT opportunity to spot some stylish over 40 women, and to answer the ever-popular question: What in the world do you wear to a shower?

Knowing how to dress for a shower is tough, and this one was no exception, as it fell at the end of March when the weather is completely unpredictable. But these ladies managed to pull it off!

The shower’s hostess, my always-impeccably-dressed aunt Heather, looked fabulous as usual in a black and white printed wrap dress.

She accessorized with a very cool mixed metal layered necklace, which added subtle edge. And bow-front grey heels complemented the look without weighing it down. A refreshing alternative to black pumps.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Marianne and Gina, both school principals with amazing, unique styles of their own.

Marianne, who’s absolute favorite store is Anthropologie, with J. Crew as a close runner-up, kept it classic with a fitted black blazer and tailored trousers.

The blazer, from Anthropologie, had this darling scarf ruffle thing going on that actually looped into the lapel. Very Paris chic.

There was also a fun button accent at the hem.

Gina’s outfit had more all-over detail and a soft, neutral palette. She loves the beach, which inspires some of her style choices including this beautiful bracelet with starfish, seashells and multicolored pearls.

Of course Karen was also in attendance and looking lovely. But there was a lot of prep work that went into her outfit, so it deserves its own post. Stay tuned.

 

How to shop for full-skirted dresses

The NY Times ran a feature this week on the rising popularity of vintage-inspired dresses. These types of frocks, which have sparked quite the debate, are newly made to look like old styles.

The article sheds light on a type of dress silhouette that is ridiculously flattering on women with hips and butts: the full skirt! Why? Because by gradually moving downward and away from the body, the skirt creates the illusion of a smaller waist. Plus, it won’t cling or pull on your body. If you have some semblance of a lower half, this type of dress is a truly wise choice.

LOOK FOR: a seam, belt, or sash detail that cinches the waistline, a full skirt that falls away from the body in an A-line shape and ends at or just below the knee

GOOD FANCY BRANDS: Oscar de la Renta and Donna Karan (Kate Spade and Lily Pulitzer for smaller frames)

GOOD MODERATELY-PRICED BRANDS: Jones New York, Spiegel, and Suzi Chin