Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Looking Gorgeous at the Gym

Hi shesheme, I have medium length wavy hair. When I put it in a ponytail to work out, it looks just like a big poof on the back of my head. I have tried cloth headbands but they just come off. Do you have any advice for cute hair things that I can use so that I can still look good at the gym? Thanks!

Hey girly girl! Kudos to you for working out! But no one wants to look like a bouncing Q Tip at the gym so here are a few ideas:

A classic french braid. Very sleek and chic. Because you can start the braid as high or low as you choose, a french braid will enable you to secure even the most layered hairstyle. This can be a bit tricky if you don't know how to french braid; however, you can have your stylist teach you in no time flat, then practice at home.

Another option (this is what I do!) a loose, messy bun. I pull my hair all back into a low to medium high ponytail, then tuck the dangling end of the ponytail back up into the elastic. Very Izzy from Grey's Anatomy. Remember to keep the hair loose though, to avoid breakage.

Also, instead of cloth headbands, try a colorful scarf. You can tie it on headband style or tie it around your ponytail or your bun. It gives you that added edge of chic that the other sweaty girls won't have!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Post Pregnancy Style

She She Me,
I am in need of direction as a first time mom for post pregnancy attire. I have lost all but a few pounds back to normal; however, my tops seem too small and I am in between sizes on the bottom half. Can you recommend some classy outfit suggestions until my body gets back to normal at a very reasonable price? I am used to dressing classy daily, but now all I find myself in are house pants and whatever old tops I have that fit. Help!
Lost Wardrobe Identity

Congratulations dearest girl! Not only on your new little bambina or bambino, but on getting back down to that pre prego weight (or very nearly there). You are the envy of many a new mom indeed! You may find, however, that many of your more fitted tops will remain too tight or too small while you are still breast feeding. Also, the possibility that your ribcage expanded to accomodate the pregnancy, and it may not return to its normal size, as happened with my friend Pretty Mama. She said that none of her button front tops would fit after she had her baby! Here are a few suggestions to get you back to your usual chic style:

I would suggest clothes that are simple in color and in style. A great pair of dark trousers in a fabric with a little stretch; or perhaps a pair with the added benefit of a tummy control panel. Stick with flat front - stay away from pleats! Same thing for a skirt.

Today's empire tops and tunic tops are very classy and also a little more forgiving while you are still losing those last few pounds. Sweaters should be deep v-neck, layered over a cami or tissue tee, this takes the emphasis away from the bustline (which probably doesn't need any emphasis at this point!) Another great choice would be a wrap style top. It gives the illusion of a waist even if yours is temporarily missing in action. Also, a fitted jacket or blazer in a classic style. Stay away from short cropped or boxy styles, and if you are like most new moms, the sands have shifted a bit!

It may be true that black and other dark colors are slimming, but also remember that patterned shirts can hide those little baby spit up stains! (Not to mention leaking breast milk.)

Don't forget shoes and accessories! You may want to go with low wedges or flats while you are toting around a little one. Ankle boots are especially great for comfort and support. Also, a great tote bag will look chic and update any outfit.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What to Wear for the Family Portrait

Dear SheShe,
I'm heading home for Thanksgiving, but at my house, there's a price to be paid for turkey and pie. My parents love to make us all pose for a family portrait, and this year, they've gone all out and made an appointment with a local photo studio. I guess it's good that my dad is finally going to replace the fifteen year old photo of me in glasses and braces, but what should I wear this year to make sure this new version doesn't make me cringe, too?! I think we're going for a sort of business casual or slightly more relaxed feel, but the only guidance I got from my parents was "no jeans!" I'd love your advice on what is appropriate for this one. Thanks! Natalie

Aren't families just fabulous? At least your mom doesn't make you all dress alike! I have three family portraits on my mantle: the entire clan dressed in khaki trousers and chambray shirts. Next year, the entire crew dressed in khaki trousers and snowflake sweaters. Last year we were all wearing khaki trousers and polo shirts. We looked like a Home Depot ad.

A few tips to remember (which you may want to pass on to the other members of your family) when having a family portrait taken: try to keep everyone within the same basic color family, but not dressed identically (that's so 1990!) As a general rule, your clothing should be either very light or very dark, depending on the backdrop, so everyone will stand out. Solid colors only - patterns, stripes and busy colors do not reproduce well on film and are very distracting in the portrait itself. And stay away from trendy fashions, anything too tight, too short, too bare or sleeveless. Dress in something that makes you feel comfortable, reflects your own sense of style and makes you feel most like yourself.

I would suggest the timeless look of a soft cashmere sweater paired with classic wool trousers. Elegance, without being too formal. A wrap front or side tie sweater is very flattering. Another option would be a flattering blouse paired with gabardine trousers, or perhaps a long skirt. Depending upon the size of your group, you may find yourself sitting on the ground or perched on the arm of a chair, so stay away from short skirts.

One of my favorite looks (and this is what we are going with in our family this year) is a classic black and white photo. Everyone can wear dark colored tops (not necessarily black, because the photo processing will give you varying shades of charcoal and grey) with light colored skirts and trousers and the final products is classic and timeless.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Holiday Party Frocks Redux

Dear She She Me, Fashion dilemma! The company office party is in three weeks, and I've no idea what to wear. I work for an Investment Firm, and am the Head of Marketing. Investment firm = conservative. Marketing = creative. What to do. I have a great Azria dress, but it has thin straps, and I don't know how comfortable I feel baring that much shoulder. Help me please, I don't want to do the standard LBD, but I don't want to look like I just changed out my top from my usual office duds. Thanks, Kari

This is the most typical dilemma regarding holiday office parties. You want to maintain your chic and professional style, but at the same time it's the holidays! You want to be able to sparkle a little, no? The most important thing to bear in mind is that even though it's a party, it is still a professional environment, so you really do need to maintain professional standards. Remember the rules, dear girl: keep it simple, keep it chic. Stay away from anything too bare, revealing, fussy or glitzy. Your Azria would be sublime, but the thin straps probably display a bit more skin than is professionally proper. One solution would be to wear a coordinating bolero, or perhaps a sheer or lace cover. Even a satin wrap top would work, depending upon the style of the dress. To offset the deeply plunging neckline of many of today's cocktail dresses, a delicate lace cami or metallic cami does the trick beautifully!

An elegant sheath, or perhaps a party style dress, with a festive fuller skirt would be a great choice. As would be a feminine top and a satin or velvet skirt. Depending upon the formality of the occasion, you could also go with trouser in a satin or velvet, or perhaps a tuxedo style suit, paired with a gorgeous blouse.

Shoes. This is where you can be a bit more daring than usual. Elegant slingbacks, pretty peeptoes, even sparkly sandals. Keep the heel height below 3 1/2inches - no stilettos. An elegant little handbag or clutch, a bit of sparkle at the wrist and ears and you are good to go.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Very Wide Legged Pants

Hi She She! I am a plus size woman and I purchased a pair of wide legged, and I mean wide legged pants. Now, my question is, is it OK for plus size women to wear these pants, and if so, can we wear flats or must it be heels only? And can I wear a shirt and vest with these pants? Thanks! Zelda B.

Hi Zelda! Believe it or not, a wide leg from top to bottom can create a long, slimming line no matter what your height. Most women do tend to wear heels with wide legged pants because the excess fabric tends to swish back and forth when you are walking and can fray along the bottom if it drags. Heels, even a mid or platform heel, allow for a little more play in the fabric, and less dragging and fraying. You can wear flats, but make sure the pants are hemmed at least a half inch inch off the floor. And if you choose to wear flats, I would opt for flats with a more pointed toe. Round toes tend to make your legs look stumpy.

A shirt and vest with wide legged pants would be perfectly fine, so long as they are fairly close fitting, with not alot of excess fabric. Volume should only exist in one area; either a voluminous top, like a tunic or oversize sweater, paired with something more form fitting, like skinny jeans or leggings. By the same token, wide legged trousers should be paired with something less voluminous, like a surplice top or fitted blouse.

Another great look, which is very in right now would be a wrap or cross front top. If you have a nice waistline, this style is very flattering, and if you have no waist to speak of, this style can create the illusion of a waistline. A veritable miracle worker!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Taming Static-head

Dear SheSheMe, I am having horrid trouble with static and my hair this fall, as I have had every other year as the seasons start to cool down! I adore wearing cozy turtlenecks and coats with furry collars, but every time I wrap a scarf around my neck, my hair absolutely goes awry! I have tried using more product, less product, no product, etc., but to no avail. My hair is straight and shoulder length, and I do use a hair dryer every morning. What suggestions do you (or Girly, perhaps?) have for my scary, static dilemma? Please help! Thank you!!! Sincerely, Dana

Hey there, chick-pea! I’ve been thinking about your predicament and have come up with the following ideas to de-shock your hair. I’ve had this problem before and was able to discover the culprit: my hair brush! Yes, my paddle brush was giving me Einstein mane. Part of the problem was that I hadn’t been cleaning the hair out of my brush often, but I now do it religiously and have found that it makes a huge difference. Another huge help - my ion hair dryer. It dries my hair super fast, leaving it silky, shiny and static free!

Truth be told, there are many things that can electrify your hair. Aside from cleaning out/replacing your hair brush, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that I think will keep your hair under control - wool coats, turtle necks and all. Your hair probably suffers from one of two things: dryness or product build-up.

To combat dryness, first be sure to use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Dry hair is crazy hair! I would also suggest a deep conditioning treatment once a week. Just keep the moisture within reason.

If you suspect a product build-up, it’s possible you are simply not rinsing your hair sufficiently before hopping out of the shower. This has been a thorn in my side on more than one occasion. However, I have a new method for rinsing my hair that has yet to let me down! Instead of rinsing your hair as you usually would, rinse in sections. Let the water rinse the top layer of hair, then lift that top layer—as if you were going to put your hair half up. Rinse that under layer and maybe even a third layer. This way you will be sure to get all of the conditioner out and won’t end up with static or greasy hair. Also, try a shampoo specifically made to combat product buildup. I use Paul Brown Clarifying Shampoo once a week to keep my hair from turning into a product timeshare!

Another fabulous help is a great leave-in conditioner. I love this one because it adds body and movement as well as controls static. It is a serum, so a little goes a long way.

And don’t think me crazy for this one: keep a fabric softener sheet handy! It’s a trick I learned a few years ago—when hair starts to stand on end, run that anti-static sheet over it. Works on clothes; works on hair! You might want to go with a softly or non-scented sheet so you won’t smell of laundry all day. Unless of course you just love the smell of clean clothes!

Hope this helps you, Dana!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Holiday Party Frocks

Can hardly believe it, but my first holiday party is less than one month away! Can you recommend an appropriate outfit for my firm's cocktail party that is fun, festive, and in keeping with this winter's trends, yet still conservative enough to wear around my colleagues? Looking forward to hearing your ideas! Jennifer (an attorney)

Dearest girl, I think that parties are the very best thing about the holidays! (even the dreaded, yet mandatory, office party). You are right on track already, however, with wanting something fashionable yet somewhat conservative. Remember the three rules for office party attire: Nothing too sexy, nothing too flashy, nothing too bare. This is not the place for plunging necklines, micro mini skirts or skin tight sweaters.

If the party is in the evening or on a weekend, and you have the time to primp and prepare, then go with an elegant cocktail dress. Something classic and sophisticated, but perhaps in a more festive fabric like satin, taffeta, chiffon or lace. A dress with a wrap front or side tie emphasizes a trim waist (or gives the illusion of one!) Nothing too short; just above the knee or at the knee is ideal. Sleeveless cocktail attire is perfectly acceptable, but if you are going to wear a spaghetti strap or strapless gown, be sure to cover up with a bolero or wrap jacket, or an opaque or semi sheer top. (Remember the nothing too bare rule!) You can also fill in a neckline that is a bit on the bare side with a lacy or embellished cami. Since you are playing it safe with the dress, you can go a little more bold with the shoes and accessories. A gorgeous necklace and earrings, this season's trendy cuff bracelet, and a chic little evening bag. This is also the perfect time to break out your "dance with me baby" sandals.

If the party is an extension of your work day, you can spruce up that legal eagle suit by swapping your traditional work blazer with a velvet blazer or brocade jacket. Another option would be a lacy or embellished shell under your original blazer, and wide leg trousers. Trade in the business pumps for some sassy slingbacks or platforms, and trade up in the accessory department for something with a little more bling than usual.

Another no no for office party attire: no holiday motifs! No earrings shaped like gift wrapped parcels, no necklaces of Christmas lights, no flashing LED Santa broaches. And don't let your guy wear a Santa tie! Tacky isn't invited to any holiday parties this year!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Divine Duvet (and other fab bedding finds!)

Hi She She Desperately in need of new bedding. I am utterly bored by the Plain Jane white duvet with red stripe, and appalled by giant grandma florals! Can you suggest something that nods to traditional luxurious bedding with a funky edge? Thanks! E

I have to admit that I am an avid bedding fan, to the point of being a fanatic. I adore being able to change the entire look and feel of my bedroom in an instant. I love Soft Surroundings for their fabulous quality bedding and accessories, as well as their great prices. This exquisite ensemble is very European in flavor, with nary a grandma floral in sight! Fabu shams, sheets and pillows to match and coordinate, and even a matching bed for your poochie!

Another source for great bedding is Bluefly. I absolutely adore their Dwell bedding in chocolate "Silhouette". Positively elegant combed Egyptian cotton feels exquisite against your skin. I also love the clean modern lines of "Trellis" in butter. Paired with crisp white bedskirt and shams for sheer elegance.

Don't forget a warm snuggly throw! I absolutely love my Bellissima throw. This chenille snuggler is perfect for cuddling and holds up through a multitude of washings.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fabulous Large Size Shoes

Darling She She! I am in a major quandary here. I am a very tall girl, over 6 feet, who loves shoes. Any shoes and all shoes. Unfortunately, all I can ever find in my size (usually 9, sometimes 10) are orthopedic nurses shoes! Please help me find some stylish shoes and most especially some boots!

Willowy in Westchester

Dearest Girl are you ever in luck! Barefoot Tess has a fantastic selection of the most chic shoes and boots for girls who need a larger size, with nary a nurses shoe among them! I love these gorgeous Delman flats, which are perfect for fall. For a little lift, check out these darling Jeffrey Campbell pumps. I also love this elegant pair of Kate Spade slingbacks .

Now for the boots: For a boot with a heel, check out the Dollhouse Wrapper bootie. And these suede riding boots are positively gorgeous and so versatile with jeans, skirts or trousers. There are so many choices! From woven leather boots to sleek riding boots to fabulous fur apr├Ęs-ski boots, you'll think you've entered paradise!