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Mary Lou Andre
Wednesday, 04 February 2015

Four Good F Words

By Mary Lou Andre

Welcome to the inaugural issue of our Dressing Well Blog. We are excited to bring timely and relevant fashion tips and ideas to you a few times each month using this new format. Some of our ideas will be shared via bulleted tips. Other times, our stylist team will share personal and client stories to make an interesting style statement.

We’d like to make our blog as interactive as possible. Please leave a comment about something we’ve shared (we love the power of group commentary!) and don’t forget to let us know what you’d like to hear more about. We’re listening and eager to respond.

To get things started, I thought I’d outline our signature “4 Good F Words” that are the cornerstone of the work we do helping clients develop their personal style. Whether shopping in your closet or shopping at a store, adopt these words as a way to build a wardrobe that truly fits and flatters all your many personas: 

Fit. Many people settle for a less than perfect fit, which negatively impacts overall style. Take the time to know your correct size in the brands you wear the most (women: petite, missy, plus or some combination; for men: regular, short and long are the standard differentiators.) Proper fit is the single most important factor in wearing your clothes well. Designers and manufacturers cut and size clothing differently, so experiment by trying on more than one size to achieve perfect fitting clothes. Also, don’t skimp on alterations. There is no substitute for a good fit.

Fabric. Today’s fabrics are as comfortable as they are fashionable. Gone are the heavy, stiff fabrics of yesteryear. Now, you can find clothing that fits and flatters any figure type, and you don’t have to sacrifice comfort. Be sure to look for fabrics that are appropriate for the climate as well as the situation you are wearing them for. Some fabrics greatly aide a polished appearance while others detract from it. If you work in a formal business environment, save your most casual fabrics for weekends and the like. Fabrics should also work for your internal thermostat and skin tolerance. If you run cold, wear and layer multiple natural and manmade fabrics. If your skin is sensitive to a fabric, consider layering it over silk or cotton which typically irritate skin less. If you are often too warm, choose natural fibers, which breathe well.

TomGisele

Two world champion fashion icons who always get their "F" words right!

Function. Making your wardrobe relevant to your life and easy to wear on a day-to-day basis is another key concept of our dressing well philosophy. When trying on core pieces in your wardrobe, take them through the paces of your typical day. Raise your arms as if reaching high on a shelf. Is your mid-section bared in an inappropriate way for work? The slit in your skirt may look cute while standing in front of the mirror, but does it reveal too much when you’re seated at a meeting? Take public transportation to work? Commuter shoes, along with protective and sharp outwear for each season is a must. If playing with kids fills most of your days, mobility is probably important, so shoes and casual separates that get you out the door fast (and are easy to wash and care for) probably make the most sense. Shop with function in mind and you’ll be sure to actually wear what you’ve bought with more confidence (and style!).

Flair. When you’ve got the first three F words mastered in your wardrobe, it’s then time to consider adding some flair. How will you make the outfit your own? Think like a professional painter. He or she starts with a clean canvas and then creates their masterpiece. Color, jewelry, belts, bags, hosiery, shoes and outwear are all ways to add a healthy dose of signature style when developing how you want to present yourself each day. Many people start with flair on their quest to be more stylish. Yet, if you don’t have a handle on how fit, fabrication and functionality of core pieces in your wardrobe interplay with your accessories, you end up having the outfit wear you instead of you wearing it.

Last Word
Taking the time to get master these 4 concepts is the key to dressing well – promise!

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About the Author

Mary Lou Andre

Mary Lou Andre is a nationally recognized wardrobe, dress code and corporate image consultant, speaker and author. She is founder and president of Organization By Design, Inc., a Needham, Massachusetts-based wardrobe management, fashion and image consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations understand the power of being appropriately dressed in a variety of situations.

Learn more about Mary Lou »