Fashion Lady

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Fashion Lady: Developing a Signature Style

We've all been there: A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear! If your last clothes-shopping trip turned up nothing but a bunch of tired trends, maybe it isn't the stores or the styles. Maybe it's you. Even if you consider yourself a fashion lady, your wardrobe might be unfocused. Here are some tips that might help you develop a signature style that works for you.

As a fashion lady, the first thing you should do is some serious thinking about what your style is now and what you would like it to be. Is your closet full of traditional clothes when you really want to be more fashion-forward, more of a classic fashion lady? Or do you tend to buy trendy clothes instead of wardrobe basics, more like a chic fashionista? Regardless, you can never go wrong by sticking to the basics, which means as a fashion lady you need to be somewhat traditional and even a bit conservative when choosing foundation pieces like suits and jackets.

A great black skirt suit, for example, can take you from day into evening with style. Look for classic styling when shopping for that basic suit. The skirt should be straight or mildly A-line with clean lines and a natural waist that isn't too high or low. For a wardrobe basic like a black suit, keep the skirt length conservative - not too long or too short. There's more latitude for the jacket. It can be single- or double-breasted but should have long sleeves rather than 3/4 length or short sleeves. Choose a jacket with classic set-in sleeves rather than raglan sleeves. For a basic suit jacket, look for one with a notched collar or mandarin collar. If this is your first suit, you'll want an all-season fabric like 100% worsted wool. Otherwise, cotton twill, linen and silk are good choices for a fashion lady. A great item to look for is a wardrober. This is a 3-piece suit that includes a jacket, skirt and pants.

Customize the suit's look with color. Think of it as a palette on which a fashion lady like you can paint with splashes of color from shells, tanks, scarves, shoes or jewelry. For days when you feel conservative, choose a neutral like white, ivory or beige to wear under your suit. On other days, you can change it up with a bright color or splashy print in either a shell or a scarf. Another way for a fashion lady to add color is via shoes and bags. Here's a classic look: black suit, white or ivory shell, shoes and bag in an accent color like red. Shells and scarves are a great way to try out a new color, too. Before spending a lot of money on another suit or separates in a new color, a savvy fashion lady will see how the color works with her tried-and-true wardrobe basics by buying a shell or scarf first.

A great way to personalize your fashion lady style is with accessories. You'd be surprised how different that suit can look with different accessories. One way to do this is with chunky fashion jewelry like pins. Shoes and handbags are important to a fashion lady, too. Black, brown and white are good shoe choices here, but you'll also want to have some colors, too. If you choose a couple of pairs shoes and bags in colors to match or compliment your shells and scarves, you're well on your way to a classic, put-together fashion lady look. Mid-heel pumps are a must, as are a couple of pairs of flats. Depending on where you live, you might want to invest in some great ankle boots or tall-shaft boots for cooler or inclement weather.

Build on the basics. Once you've created your fashion lady look, branch out. Carefully choose pieces to add to your foundation. Coordinated separates are the way to go here. Look for a couple of blazers in classic fabrics that a fashion lady like you can mix and match with your suit pieces. Then get some skirts and pants in different but basic colors that will also work with your suit pieces. If you're a fashion lady who lives in a cold climate, silk turtlenecks for winter wear will look stylish and keep you warm as well. For hot climates, linen or a linen blend is always in fashion for tops, pants and skirts. Again, depending on climate, two or three sweaters in cotton, wool or synthetics like acrylic are wardrobe staples.

With just a bit of thought and some strategic shopping, you'll be able to create a signature look that's stylish, comfortable and affordable.

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