Category Archives: Tops

How to shop for tops

Just loving this tank

This post (okay, any post) is long overdue. My apologies for summer laziness!

Anyway, I was out and about shopping for a client, and came across this fantastic little Eloise tank. It’s from Anthropologie (yes, I went against my own rule and shopped outside the accessories department), and it’s super simple and genius at the same time.

It’s a fitted tank for layering under sheer or low-cut tops, and…wait for it… has BOTH a scoopneck and a V-neck for you to match to whatever top you’re wearing over it.

I love this idea.

Just make sure to cut out the tags before wearing, so that they don’t accidentally flip up in the front.

Well played, Anthro. No crazy embellishments in sight.

Itchy? Could be that wool

Within the past few weeks, I’ve had FOUR clients with the same issue: itchiness and rashes when wearing wool. This was enough to prompt me to share some pointers on how to handle such an annoying situation, especially when it’s winter time and wool is frolicking in fabric contents everywhere.

After some very in-depth Googling, I’ve learned that a true wool allergy is rare, while sensitivity to wool is much more common. And to get even more particular, people are often reacting to the stuff in the wool (i.e. lanolin, allergens) as opposed to the fiber itself. But I don’t really care about all that stuff, and neither do my clients. What matters is that it freakin’ itches when you put it on.

So, what can be done to avoid wool and still dress with ease? Here are a few pointers:

-You don’t have to give up wool entirely. If your sensitivity is mild, you can often be okay with wearing wool as long as it doesn’t touch your skin. When it comes to suits or suit separates, seek out pieces that are lined, OR have a lining put in. This is a common thing that tailors do for wool suits.

-Learn the art of the layer! This may sound like common sense, but I’m gonna say it anyway. If you’re in the mild sensitivity camp, you can still get away with wearing that wool sweater, as long as it’s not touching the skin. Opt for a thin, long-sleeved tee underneath. This is that rare instance where I’d say a turtleneck is also okay, so that your neck is protected too.

-Get to know other fabrics. As spring stuff is coming into stores, there are definitely other good fabrics to choose from. For suits and work separates: Look to Calvin Klein for a poly-rayon blend, Theory for dressier cotton and cotton blend, and Rachel Zoe for trendier poly blend styles. For casual sweater-y things: Try out J.Crew or 525 America.

Here’s to less itching in 2012!

Where have all the good (sleeved) shells gone?

Karen and I spent the better half of a recent shopping trip seeking out good basic shells to wear under blazers. This is something she has a lot of trouble finding, since she wants some sort of sleeve, and needs the shell to be polished enough to wear to work. I define a shell as any base layer you wear under a blazer, cardigan, or sweater. A blouse can be considered a shell, but in this case, Karen was on the hunt for something completely simple and frill-free.

After a lot of searching, we finally stumbled upon a near-perfect option in Chico’s. (Unfortunately, they’re not online, so you’ll have to venture over to a store near you.) Here’s why these shells worked:

The fabric was right. If you’re in a work environment, you want to pass on too-casual fabric. The ones we found were a polyester/spandex blend. You can also go the cotton route, as long as it’s not 100% cotton. A thinner jersey blend will look more office-appropriate. You can also opt for silk, but be wary of silk tops that wrinkle or stain too easily.

It wasn’t too bulky. Even though the style had sleeves, it was thin enough to wear under other layers.

The neckline was flattering. Seek out scoops, slight Vs, or cowls when it comes to neck shapes for versatile shells. These will frame your face nicely and elongate the figure.

And if you find one that works, buy it in a few different colors. We took home the same shell in coral, white, and black! It’s so basic, that it’s okay to have a few to choose from.

Have you had luck elsewhere finding sleeved shells? If so, do share! I’m always looking to hear some reader favorites.

Reader Question: What tops will mask my middle?

Here’s the latest fantastic question from an equally fantastic reader:

 

My body/clothing challenge is that my weight is disproportionately stored around my middle since I had my baby. So if you look at me from front-on, I look like a well-proportioned size 12/14, but if you look at me from the side or in the wrong clothes, I really do look kind of pregnant and I actually wear more like a size 16/18. Any ideas for what cut/length/etc of top might work for someone of my body shape so that I don’t look pregnant?  Thanks for any thoughts you can offer!

 

For someone who stores most of their weight in the middle (whether naturally or post-partum), the key is to find tops that will cover what you don’t want emphasized (the tum) while not appearing too big and baggy. Often women will choose large, billowy styles and end up looking like their clothes are swallowing them whole.

Here’s what to look for instead:

Images from left to right: talbots.com, saks.com

 

Seek out the right neckline above all else. A good neck will help to draw the eye upward towards your gorgeous face and away from any not so fabulous areas. Generally speaking, V-necks and deeper scoops are the best (just don’t go so deep that you enter scary cleavage zone).  They frame the face and create a longer line. Plus, they offer an ideal backdrop for an amazing necklace or set of earrings. Again, this will work to bring attention up.

 

Images from left to right: anntaylor.com, talbots.com

 

Next, you should focus on detailing that’s going to successfully camouflage your middle without adding bulk. The best accents for this are thin tiers (a.k.a. flat ruffles) or subtle ruching. These details prevent the fabric of the shirt from clinging directly to your body.

 

In addition to tops themselves, nothing makes you look slimmer and more pulled together than a classic, structured blazer that flares out from the waist. Wear it unbuttoned over your ensemble, and it will automatically hide that annoying middle.

 

Have a pressing style question? Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook!

Some fun tee thoughts from net-a-porter

I wanted to share an email I got from NET-A-PORTER: three ideas for elevating your t-shirt look. I think tees are truly versatile pieces essential to any successful wardrobe. Especially ones made from super soft material that drape easily over the body. While I have my own ideas on where to find fabulous tees, I do like the pairings going on here.

A slouchy tee over a long maxi skirt can go so much further than the afternoon. This is an effortlessly chic choice for date night or even an evening event. Remember how much of a stir Sharon Stone caused in that Gap top at the Oscars? (I just dated myself, I know.)

Check out the full email here. Long skirts, retro pencil skirts and edgy skinnies are all waiting to be worn with your go-to tee. It’s allowed, I promise!

Well if Zoe likes it…

I admit it. I love Rachel Zoe. Yes, she’s crazy crazy crazy, but I find it to be an endearing type of insanity that’s backed up by genuine talent and amazingly gigantic jewelry.

Today’s Zoe newsletter featured her team’s pick for ‘the perfect tee’. And while said tee is nice, I am not about to shell out a C-note for it ($105 to be exact). What caught my eye was their Alternate Universe pick, which is basically the affordable choice for the common folk. In this category, Team Zoe showcased one of my favorite recent purchases from Nordstrom: the Rubbish Dolman Tunic Tee.

I picked up a couple of these during my last adventure to a Jersey mall a few months ago. I found them in the junior’s department, and have worn them to death since. They address my obsession with butt-covering tops, without looking too boxy or shapeless. I credit that to the rounded shirttail hem. To keep it real, they are not the best quality, and will start to pill eventually. But for less than $30, that’s not totally surprising.

Anyway, just wanted to toot my own horn over scoring these well before today’s mass Zoe-mail stuck them in the spotlight. I back these tees 100 percent. And am about to order a few more!

Remember dickies? They’re baaaaack

Did you know The Re-Stylist has a new look and name? We are now Bryn Taylor Style, and you can find us over at bryntaylorstyle.com.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and receive our latest style guide for free (over 1000 copies have been sold on Amazon!)

how to dress french

 

Massive thanks to Shopafrolic for turning me on to CeCe Toppings. Don’t know if any of your remember the old school dickie, but it’s back with a fabulous new look! (Let’s call them faux collars as the word dickie just kind of makes me uncomfortable. Yes, I still have a 5th grade sense of humor). My grandmother used to wear dickies faux collars in every color of the rainbow. Hers were all turtlenecks though, which just don’t work for everybody.

But CeCe Toppings’ versions are versatile collared cuts in a bunch of cool colors and patterns. While I have yet to physically try one, I am loving what I’m seeing on the site. While a full-on shirt can be just plain annoying (think of the constant tugging and re-adjusting under sweaters), the crispness of a button-down collar works brilliantly with fall’s cozy knit tops.

I’m particularly drawn to the ruffled and peter pan collars. Can’t wait to try them!

Check out the entire collection at CeCeToppings.com.

 

 

 

Turtlenecks: who can and who can’t

As fall arrives (well, sort of arrives I guess – anyone else baffled by this crazy humid weather at the end of SEPTEMBER?), I’m seeing a whole lot of turtlenecks. Especially in the windows of mega-retailers like H&M, Zara, and J. Crew. This was a fairly big trend on the fall 2011 runways, and recently noted by the hilarious–and always chic–blogger Leandra Medine on her site, The Man Repeller.

But can anyone wear one? The answer is… sadly, no. Like almost every other trend in the world, it just doesn’t work on everyone.

Generally speaking, a lower neckline elongates the figure and opens up the face. This is a nifty magic trick for both petite women and those with larger busts. A scoop or V-neck succeeds in opening up the area and highlighting a woman’s decolletage. For petites, it creates a more vertical line from the top of the chest up to the face.

Turtlenecks do pretty much the opposite. If you have a chest, a turtleneck will accentuate it. And not in a good way. Turtlenecks can make a chest look bulky and shapeless. Plus, they can create the floating head scenario, which eliminates any sort of long, continuous line up the body.

So does this mean you can’t rock one if you’re bigger than a C cup or under 5’3″? Of course not! It all depends on the styling.

Instead of  wearing a turtleneck alone, opt for layering one under a sweater, blazer or lightweight jacket. And choose one that adds a pop of color, like red. This will turn the turtleneck into an accent piece (similar to a scarf) instead of the focal point of your entire top half.

Besides, layering is more fun anyway.

A good tee is hard to find

It’s true. Especially as we get older and more picky. At least that’s how I feel about the situation. I’ve been advising a lot of clients lately on adding some quality tee shirts to their off-duty wardrobes. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but the right tee can truly make an outfit all grown-up in a casual cool sort of way.

But where does one find a good tee? Below are some good picks and where to find them.

 

Mossimo Junior’s Tee from Target.

I am over the moon about this Tarjay tee. I have four in grey, two in white… and I’m planning on grabbing some warm colors for fall. They are longer in length, looser on the body  (I buy a size bigger), and perfect for laid-back dressing you can take into public.

Pure Body Tee from Gap.

These are super soft with a hint of stretch, which means they keep their shape after several wears. The cut is more fitted, but not too tight. Way to go Gap!

 

 

Deep V-Neck Tee from American Apparel.

As much as I really REALLY don’t like some of the stuff associated with American Apparel as a company, I have to admit they have some kick-butt tees. The above V-neck is the quintessential hipster tee, with a slight retro feel. They do a jersey grey color near perfectly, with a subtle worn-in way about it.

Splendid Scoopneck Tee and James Perse V-Neck Tee (from various department stores or online).

Splendid and James Perse are both brands known for making soft, wearable tees. They can run on the pricier side, but are generally worth the extra few bucks. I like Splendid for more fitted styles, and Perse for ones that have a roomier boyfriend look.

Style note: Take these tees out on the weekends with a pair of darker wash jeans, stretch cords, or slouchy trousers. Layer with a chunky sweater or oversized scarf, and you’ll look instantly–and effortlessly!–cool.

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.