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JANUARY 2017

January Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

AndreML 2015 2017 is off to a great start here at Dressing Well. Our consultants are busy with their private clients, our leadership development work with Bates Communications gets started this month in Cape Coral, Florida and our commitment to several local and national charities is alive and well for the year ahead. More details about our partnerships, speaking schedule and charitable initiatives can be found in our online calendar.

In our first blog of 2017, Dressing Well stylist Kathy Smith shares 5 fresh ideas for adding signature winter style to your wardrobe – enjoy!

As always, we welcome your business and referrals. Thank you for being part of our community. From all of us at Dressing Well, Happy New Year – make it your best year yet!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

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NOVEMBER 2016

November Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

AndreML 2015 As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, I'd like to express my gratitude to all of you for being part of our Dressing Well Community. I am grateful to be doing work that I love with a team that is equally committed to our firm, collective clients and business partners. We welcome your business, referrals and feedback on all that we do. Thank you for keeping us going for close to 25 years!

This month we offer seasonal fashion advice to men and women, share news of our feature in next Sunday's Boston Globe, and tip our hats to Anton's Cleaners Coats for Kids. If you are ready to get a head start on your holiday shopping, consider our popular Dressing Well gift certificates. The gift of style never goes out of fashion!

No matter where you are on your style journey, we hope our ideas and insights make it easier for you to celebrate your own unique style.

Here's to Dressing Well!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

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APRIL 2016

April Greetings
An Anniversary Message from Mary Lou Andre

AndreML 2015Our company was founded on April 1, 1992 with the premise that with a little organization and a few simple style tricks, anyone can be well dressed. As we begin our 24th year of business this month, I am tickled at how this simple truth has propelled this firm forward. I am also grateful to be doing work I love with an exceptional team who deliver on this same promise year-in and year-out with our collective clients and audiences. No matter where you are on your own style journey, thank you for being part of our community.

This month we celebrate the good work of two favorite charities, share a fun feature in the Patriot Ledger and offer seasonal advice to men and women. We welcome your comments. In addition to our blog, our top ten now has an interactive comment feature.

As we pack winter away for good and get ready for the season ahead, here's to Dressing Well!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

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JANUARY 2016

January Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

AndreML 2015 2016 is off to a great start here at Dressing Well. Our consultants are busy helping their clients look their personal best and our first blog post for 2016 aims to help you start the New Year with some fresh style, too. Enjoy!

This month, we return to our roots, presenting our signature public program, "The Organized Wardrobe," for the first time in many years. We get lots of inquiries about this program from site visitors, people who have read our book, and those who have attended sessions when we regularly offered them. If you'd like to experience our message up close and personal, register online and head to Arlington High School next Thursday, January 21st from 7-9 pm. Our work with Bates Communications, Caring Partners, Needham Community Council and Dress for Success Boston continues in 2016 as well. More details about these partnerships can be found in our online calendar.

As we look ahead to 2016, we are grateful to be continuing the work we love. From all of us at Dressing Well, Happy New Year – make it your best year yet!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  From the Dressing Well Blog

This month, we share 5 holiday wardrobe staples for women interested in kicking up their wardrobe a notch without breaking the bank. Read article...

 
     
  Holiday Q&A Posted Now

"My guy needs a style make-over. Any ideas that will also work as holiday gifts?" Read more...

 
     
  Coats for Kids

We are proud to be closely associated with Caring Partners, Inc. – the organization that sponsors "Coats for Kids" each winter and "Belle of the Ball" each spring. Their annual coat drive is currently underway. Follow this link for coat drop off locations. As the days get colder, the gift of warmth is truly priceless to those in need. You can also support Caring Partners financially by visiting their Giving Tuesday donation page, where you can also view an inspirational video featuring the great work done by Caring Partners. Giving Tuesday annually kicks off the busy holiday giving season on the first Tuesday in December and runs through early January. Thanks in advance for any support you can give. They are truly making a difference in the lives of many.

 
     
  Booking 2016 Seminars & Workshops

If you have a professional image project you'd like to get off the ground in 2016, we'd love to hear from you. Contact Mary Lou Andre directly to discuss your needs and ideas. We write (and re-write!) corporate dress codes and introduce them, create and deliver motivational and effective professional image seminars, and offer a variety of creative customer appreciation events that help build loyalty with key company constituencies. We welcome the opportunity to work with you.

 

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HOLIDAY 2015

Holiday Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

AndreML 2015The holidays are well under way here at Dressing Well. Our December blog showcases five handy holiday staples that can take any female wardrobe up a notch. Our holiday Q&A gives guys some great style advice, too – enjoy!

In the spirit of the season, I want to personally thank our team of consultants for all they do day in and day out to make our collective clients shine. They are an exceptional group in every way (just ask their clients!). Thanks also to each of you for being in our Dressing Well community. Your business, referrals and support of charitable work are appreciated all year long.

From all of us at Dressing Well, have a wonderful holiday season.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  From the Dressing Well Blog

This month, we share 5 holiday wardrobe staples for women interested in kicking up their wardrobe a notch without breaking the bank. Read article...

 
     
  Holiday Q&A Posted Now

"My guy needs a style make-over. Any ideas that will also work as holiday gifts?" Read more...

 
     
  Coats for Kids

We are proud to be closely associated with Caring Partners, Inc. – the organization that sponsors "Coats for Kids" each winter and "Belle of the Ball" each spring. Their annual coat drive is currently underway. Follow this link for coat drop off locations. As the days get colder, the gift of warmth is truly priceless to those in need. You can also support Caring Partners financially by visiting their Giving Tuesday donation page, where you can also view an inspirational video featuring the great work done by Caring Partners. Giving Tuesday annually kicks off the busy holiday giving season on the first Tuesday in December and runs through early January. Thanks in advance for any support you can give. They are truly making a difference in the lives of many.

 
     
  Booking 2016 Seminars & Workshops

If you have a professional image project you'd like to get off the ground in 2016, we'd love to hear from you. Contact Mary Lou Andre directly to discuss your needs and ideas. We write (and re-write!) corporate dress codes and introduce them, create and deliver motivational and effective professional image seminars, and offer a variety of creative customer appreciation events that help build loyalty with key company constituencies. We welcome the opportunity to work with you.

 

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SUMMER 2015

Happy Summer
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186This month, we introduce Fast Fashion Advice, a new virtual service that allows you to get a quick (within 24 hours) critique of up to three photos. We take the guesswork out with a big thumbs-up (or a gentle thumbs-down), all while providing guidance about why outfits work and/or how to make them better. Learn more. We welcome the opportunity to work with you wherever you reside.

Some of you may recall that we used to share The Summer Shoe Pledge each year in our summer newsletter. Originally emailed to us in 1999, I'm not sure who authored it, but I do know it was always a hit. We now have it posted on our blog. Read it, share it and enjoy it. We welcome your comments, too!

Finally, a special shout-out to all the dads in our midst. If you are looking for a special gift for a special dad, consider a Dressing Well gift certificate . We help guys of all ages and professions navigate shopping while giving them the extra confidence that comes with a polished appearance.

Enjoy this truly glorious season. We are around all summer to help you put your best foot forward, sandals and all!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

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April 2015

April Greetings
An Anniversary Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186 Today marks the 23rd anniversary of our firm. My entrepreneurial journey has been filled with amazing people and opportunities. The company was built the old-fashioned way, one client at a time using the power of networking and Yankee ingenuity. You can read the Dressing Well story on our website. I am grateful to still be doing work I love. Thank you all for being part of our ongoing community.

This week's blog post, " Train Your Eye," illustrates three of our founding principles that are kept alive each day by our talented team of stylists. I refer to a personal high school basketball experience in the opening that was definitely a precursor to the work I'm doing now. Odd, I know, but true! The article is also posted on the website of Bates Communications this week. If you're interested in learning more about Bates' open enrollment leadership programs, visit their website. We are proud to be presenting our executive image message at their public programs throughout 2015.

Finally, a significant cornerstone of our work over the past 23 years has been a concept we call " Fashionable Giving." This month our charitable efforts turn to Anton's Cleaners' annual Belle of the Ball prom dress donation day being held on April 11th at Simmons College. If you ever question the power of the right dress at the right time, I encourage you to get involved. Donations are welcome to help purchase shoes, jewelry and other accessories that make the event even more special for the young women who attend. We always leave the event inspired. By supporting this event with a monetary donation of any amount, you'll be part of the magic too!

Your business, referrals, and encouraging comments and insights via our blog and emails are always welcome. Thanks again for your support over the last 23 years!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

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MARCH 2015

March Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186Here in New England, March has arrived like a lion. With over 100 inches of snow still on the ground, there is nothing you can do but "march" on. Many of our clients are doing just that and we are happy to be helping them prepare for spring in their closets and at the stores. Our popular "Top Ten" list for spring 2015 is also now posted on our website. Hope a few of these ideas resonate with you and put a "spring" in your step!

If you ski, March can be a glorious month, especially this year. An abundance of snow, above 40-degree days and, for some, the opportunity to take spring breaks at amazing resorts both domestically and internationally make for a special time of year. For those of you headed to the slopes (or just looking to enhance skiwear which is often worn as street-wear in any place with a seasonal temperature change) you'll want to read Dressing Well Stylist Carolyn Lieberman's blog about building an après ski wardrobe. Keep an eye on our blog for more timely style tips as spring unfolds. We are thrilled with how well-received our new blog has been. Thanks to all who have read it, shared it and commented on it. We welcome your ideas.

Finally, if you live in and around Boston, consider joining us at the 3rd Annual Needham Community Council Fashion Show on Sunday, March 22nd. This event has become a personal favorite rite of spring. You'll leave inspired after hearing the stories of the dozens of community heroes who serve as models and strut down the runway wearing truly stylish and creative ensembles courtesy of the Council's Thrift Store. Fashion really is where you find it!

Enjoy the start of spring. Here's to Dressing Well.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

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FEBRUARY 2015

February Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186This month, we are excited to launch our new Dressing Well Blog. Our goal is to deliver timely and relevant fashion tips and ideas to you a few times each month using this more modern 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 " Four 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.

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to dressing well. We are busy booking spring corporate workshops and individual sessions, too. We appreciate your business and referrals.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

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JANUARY 2015

Happy New Year!
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186January is always a good time to take stock of your personal and professional goals and then make a plan to accomplish them. In this issue of our newsletter, we share five style resolutions that are easy to implement. If upgrading your personal style in 2015 is on your radar, we hope a few of these ideas resonate with you. Enjoy!

As we look ahead to 2015, we are grateful to be continuing with work we love. Our work with Dress for Success Boston and Caring Partners, Inc. continues as well, allowing us to give back to the community in important ways. Consider joining us at the 9th annual Dress for Success luncheon in Boston later this month. Details are below. We will also be starting a Dressing Well bi-monthly blog in February to supplement our quarterly newsletter. Look for an announcement in your inbox soon.

Our doors are open for business and we welcome the opportunity to work with you, your friends, family, colleagues and organizations this year. From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., Happy New Year—make it your best year yet!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  Five Style Resolutions for Men and Women  
 
#1 Organize Your Closet.

Behind losing weight, getting organized is often listed as the second most popular New Year's resolution in mainstream media. When you vow to get your closet in top working order, you also get one step closer to being more stylish and well dressed. Why? By ditching the things in your wardrobe that no longer serve you and organizing the rest, you start to see new, more appealing outfits from pieces you already own. You are also more likely to add just the right new elements to become a more stylish you.

 
  closets  
 
Editor's Note: The annual 30% off Elfa sale at The Container Store® is going on now. Elfa comes in a variety of finishes to complement any décor. We are big fans of their systems and excellent in-store designers.

#2 Retire (& Replace!) Sweaters.
One of the easiest ways to begin organizing your wardrobe is to get rid of over-sized, bulky sweaters that you never wear anyway. Your closet (and psyche!) will instantly feel lighter. Women looking to upgrade their winter casual sweater collection can't go wrong with a few long and lean looks for optimal coverage and warmth. Men: a rugged sweater layered over a sporty shirt can instantly up your casual style quotient. Give it a try!

 
  sweaters  
 

#3 Wear Now, Wear Later
Serious female (and male!) fashionistas are always a season ahead. Purchase a few pieces now that will also carry you into spring with style. Orange accents appear abundantly on male and female apparel, footwear and accessories. For women, crop tops and leather and suede shorts continue as significant trends. Layer both now and wear them on their own later. Bold floral and paisley designs are other spring trends that both men and women can get started with now.

 
  springtrends  
 

#4 Upgrade Your Workout Wear.
Even if you don't work out, fresh exercise wear is a great alternative to jeans and other casual attire when hanging at home or running errands and the like. If you are committed to working out more in 2015, having nice options to wear when exercising should help keep you motivated, too. Be sure to add a fresh pair of sneakers for indoor workouts and hip boots that can withstand the elements when you are wearing workout gear as street wear.

 
  workout  
 

#5 Make Your Jeans Work.
Finally, if you work in a business casual office environment that allows jeans, dress them up! Doing so means paying attention to the fit, fabric, color, cut and style so that they fit in (and you stand out!) in all the right ways.

 
  dressjeans

 
     
  January Q&A Now Posted

This month we help a site visitor navigate winter hosiery choices. Read more...

 
     
  Celebrating Self-Sufficiency – A Luncheon & Online Auction to Benefit Dress for Success Boston

We are pleased to continue our support of Dress for Success Boston via their 9th annual luncheon and auction. This year's event is being held at the beautiful Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston, MA on Friday, January, 30th. The event starts at 11:30 am and tickets can be purchased at www.dfsbluncheon2015.eventbrite.com. Bid on auction items from your computer (including a closet make-over with a member of our Dressing Well stylist team) now through February 16th at www.biddingforgood.com/dfsb. To learn more about how you can support this outstanding national organization, visit their website at www.dressforsuccess.org. Follow their links to an affiliate in your neck of the woods.

 
     
  Repeat Performance at College Club of Boston

We kick off our busy 2015 seminar calendar on January 16th with "The Art of Dressing Well" for the members of the College Club in Boston. The College Club is the oldest women's college club in the United States. Mary Lou Andre gave one of her first Dressing Well presentations at this club back in 1996. If you would like to bring this program to your organization, please contact us. Lively and full of anecdotes and humor, the program also walks participants through our 5-step process for pulling together their wardrobe with confidence and style. Fashion show-and-tell and a generous Q&A component complete this popular program.
 
     

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OCTOBER 2014

October 2014
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186Fall is well underway here at Organization By Design, Inc. Our consultants are busy working with their private clients to organize and enhance their wardrobes and personal style, and our fall workshop and speaking schedule is in high gear. A warm welcome to all of our new email subscribers whom we have met on the road (and in various closets!) this past September.

Our popular Top Ten fall fashion picks for women is our featured article this month. For men, the October Q&A addresses some handy tips to review before shopping for dress shirts. We hope that a few of our tips will resonate with you and make it easy to add some fresh style to your wardrobe.

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to Dressing Well. We look forward to an opportunity to work with you.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  Top Ten Fall Fashion Picks for Women

 
  #1 Shades of Gray
Always a cool weather favorite. Pair your grays with navy, camel and chocolate for a fresh twist.

 
  grays  
 

#2 Green with Envy
Pop your wardrobe with this cool primary color. It's a standout way to update your look.

 
  green  
 

#3 The Sophisticated Track Pant
Kick the bottom half of your wardrobe up a notch with this stylish silhouette. Pointed-toe heels and flats ground the look nicely.

 
  track pants  
 

#4 The Modern Jumpsuit
Every age group can celebrate this retro throw back. It makes dressing easy and just plain fun.

 
  jumpsuits  
 

#5 Fall Florals
Think big and bold to balance out pairing them with heavier fabrics and footwear.

 
  fall florals  
 

#6 Knit Dresses
Forgiving, stylish and warm. Pair with boots, booties, tights and a variety of belts and jewelry for signature style.

 
  knit dresses  
 

#7 Open-Toe Booties
Upgrade your boot collection with this transitional weather footwear choice. Add tights when it gets cold!

 
  booties  
 

#8 The Crop Top
A repeat from spring that is still going strong! Layer camis, shirts and tees underneath when you don't want to be overexposed.

 
  crop tops  
 

#9 The Bare Neckline
Let an interesting neckline on a garment be your accessory. Enhance the effect with a strong earring, bracelet and/or belt.

 
  bare necklines  
 

#10 The Bucket Bag
For those that already have a good assortment of totes, clutches, shoulder and string bags! It's an "A list" item that can still be found at a variety of price points.

 
  bucket bags

 
     
  October Q&A: The Power of Dress Shirts

We call dress shirts the centerpiece of male attire. When they fit through your body, flatter your coloring and frame your face well, your style soars. This month we help a male site visitor shop for dress shirts. Read more...

 
     
  Fall Kickoff at Neiman Marcus Boston

On September 20th, our team gathered at Neiman Marcus in Boston to participate in Project Beauty – a cosmetics fashion presentation showcasing all the latest beauty trends. We also toured Copley Place Mall as a group to share shopping and styling tips and strategies that benefit our diverse clientele. Pictured here with Mary Lou Andre outside of Neiman Marcus are Dressing Well stylists Sarah Zengo, Kathy Smith and Carolyn Lieberman. Read their bios on our team page. They are all available to bring you on your own mall tour!

 
  Dressing Well Team

 
     
  Salute to Karen Costa

After a decade of incredible service to our firm, consultant Karen Costa will be stepping down at the end of this month. Words cannot describe the dedication, professionalism and all around style and grace Karen consistently brought to her work and clients. If you had the pleasure of working with Karen and want to send her a note, please do so at kcosta@dressingwell.com. Her email will be active through October and her clients will be well cared for by Sarah, Carolyn and Kathy! Thank you Karen – you will be greatly missed!

 

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SPRING 2014

Spring 2014
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186Spring has finally arrived and we are happy to share our popular "Top Ten" fashion picks for the season ahead. Since we work with as many men as women these days, we've also added 5 tips for guys. Enjoy!

We also welcome stylist Kathy Smith to our Dressing Well team. She joins Karen Costa, Elizabeth Fragela, Carolyn Lieberman and Sarah Zengo in bringing our dressing well philosophy to our private clients. New merchandise is arriving at stores daily and our talented team welcomes the opportunity to shop in your closet and at the store. You'll never look at your wardrobe quite the same again – promise!

We celebrate 22 years in business today and the 10th anniversary of Belle of the Ball this Saturday. You can read the story of how our firm was started as well as more about our " Fashionable Giving" philosophy on our website. While it is true that I sold my wedding dress to launch my dream business, I believe our commitment to giving back to the community has definitely been a big part of how it has been sustained. I am blessed to continue to be doing work I love with people I enjoy and value. It's definitely been worth a wedding dress!

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to dressing well. We look forward to working with you this season.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  Top Ten Fashion Picks for Women: Spring 2014

 
  #1 Pretty Pastels
Pale pinks, soft sorbets, icy blues and minty greens easily lighten your look.

 
  pastels  
 

#2 Pointed-Toe Flats
Chic and comfortable, they instantly up your fashion quotient!

 
  pointed-toe flats  
 

#3 Perforated Details
Micro cut-outs adorn apparel and accessories while giving them serious style clout.

 
  perforated details  
 

#4 The Bib Necklace
Statement necklaces are back and the "bib" is our favorite!

 
  bib necklace  
 

#5 Cross-Body Bags
Utilitarian accessories that also add a flattering horizontal accent to your overall style.

 
  cross-body bags  
 

#6 Infinity Scarves
Also known as circle scarves, they have no beginning or end. Use them to add a soft, modern flair to necklines.

 
  infinity scarves  
 

#7 Floral Dresses
A perennial favorite that has moved in a strong, bold direction.

 
  floral dresses  
 

#8 Harem Pants
Roomy through the hips and thighs yet fitted at the waist and ankle, they pair nicely with cropped tops as well as blazers, flats and heels.

 
  harem pants  
 

#9 Cropped Tops
Best paired with high waists and fuller cut bottoms. Show a little skin or none at all. Camisoles and tees layer well with this look when you don't want to be overexposed!

 
  cropped tops  
 

#10 Black and Navy Blue
Timeless and classy, black dresses up navy while navy makes black more demure. Consider it the power couple of the moment!

 
  navy and black

 
     
  April Q & A : Five Spring Dressing Ideas for Men

This month we help a male site visitor add spring style to his work, weekend and after 5 wardrobe. Read more...

 
     
  Welcome Kathy Smith!

We are pleased to welcome Kathy Smith to our Dressing Well team. Says client Beth Gamble, "Kathy is a perfect addition to your team! I am thrilled with her skills – she has a gift... To read more about Kathy and the skills she brings to our firm, follow this link. She is also accepting new clients. Email our main office at info@dessingwell.com if you'd like to set up an appointment. We are delighted to have Kathy on board!

 
     
  Celebrate Special Spring Occasions with Dressing Well Gift Certificates

We sell as many Dressing Well gift certificates in the spring as we do over the holidays. Graduations, Mother's Day, Father's Day and the like are all perfect occasions to present special people in your life with the gift of dressing well. Follow this link to view our most popular gift certificate packages. We also invite you to contact us if you'd like help putting together a special package not covered in our standard descriptions. These are gifts that last a lifetime, especially for young people just starting their careers.

 
     
  Belle of the Ball on Fox 25

Mary Lou Andre, along with 4 students from Needham High School – Paige Petronio, Carly Coleman, Catherine Conley and Lexi Quirk – appeared on Fox 25 Morning News on Thursday, March 20th to promote Anton's Cleaners' award winning Belle of the Ball prom dress collection drive while also showcasing Prom 2014 Style. View the segment here. Special thanks to Dellaria Salons for providing hair and make-up for our teen models. To learn more about Belle of the Ball (which takes place on Saturday, April 5th at Simmons College), visit antons.com/belle. We are thrilled to be participating in the 10th anniversary of this amazing event!

 

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WINTER 2014

Winter 2014
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186Winter here in New England is more enjoyable when I keep busy with work, enjoy outdoor winter sports with family and friends and have plenty of spring magazines in my midst to remind me that warm weather is right around the corner. Since we also consider shopping a winter sport, we're sharing some favorite fashion finds this month – enjoy!

Our spring calendar is filling up with both charitable and professional development events. Highlights include the 2nd Annual Needham Community Council Fashion Show on March 23rd and Anton's Cleaner's 10th Annual Belle of the Ball on April 5th at Simmons College (all 42 Anton's locations are currently accepting gently used prom dresses now through March 29th). We have also created an exciting new partnership with our friends at Bates Communications and will be delivering the professional image and style segment of their two-day Professional Presence workshop in Boston on June 19th and 20th.

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to dressing well. We are busy booking spring corporate workshops and individual sessions too. We appreciate your referrals and business.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  Five Fab February Fashion Finds We Love for Guys & Gals!

 
  #1 My Adea Layering Tops
An everyday luxury (and a staple in the closet of many of our professional clients in need of layering pieces for suits and sweaters) available at affordable prices. This month, we suggest stocking up on their light-weight and comfy turtlenecks. Many are on sale. We also love their bra-friendly camisoles and 3/4 sleeve scoop neck tops year-round. Editor's Note: Order one size larger than you normally wear to accommodate the fitted nature of the fabric.

 
  my_adea_tops  
 

#2 His and Her "Elfa" Closets
With Elfa (available exclusively at The Container Store), you can transform any closet into a custom masterpiece. Simply measure your space and visit any of their stores for a free expert design. Designs can also be created by visiting containerstore.com/elfa. Closet organizing is a great "winter doldrums" project you can do alone or with your significant other. Our consultants are also available to help! Extra Bonus: The annual Elfa sale (30% off all products including installation) is running through February 11th!

 
  elfa_closets  
 

#3 Longchamp Luggage and Totes
Over the years we've helped many people purchase luggage and totes. Many of these purchases have been Longchamp. We love the totes because they zip up nicely protecting items from the elements. They're also incredibly roomy for lugging things to and from work and also for traveling. The luggage is durable and smart on the eyes. February is a great time to take stock of all your bags and totes to get them ready for the season ahead.

 
  totes  
 

#4 Vineyard Vines Accessories for Men
These fun accents are an affordable way to give all the "preppy" men in your life an unexpected Valentine's Day treat from the hot Vineyard Vines brand. From young boys to teens to adults who like to walk on the colorful side of fashion, whimsical designs (think pink whales and vibrant sports patterns) also let you match their personality. We really love the boxers and belts for the teens in our midst!

 
  vinyard_vines  
 

#5 Our Portable Packing Rack
Finally, if a winter getaway is on your agenda, our very own portable packing rack is a wonderful tool. You'll wonder how you lived without it! Weighing just six pounds, it folds and opens in seconds and easily holds up to 60 outfits. It is 58" long by 58" high when set up and folds down easily to just 4' for quick storage. No assembly is required. Also great for organizing your closet, airing out clothes and creating extra storage space in rooms with limited closets. Check it out in our online store. Editor's Note: We have recently taken all shipping costs off our website. Please peruse our online store for all our "shipping-free" products!

 
     
  A Warm Welcome to the Women of Edelstein CPA

edelstein_cpaWe kicked off our busy 2014 seminar calendar on January 16th with "The Art of Dressing Well" for the Women's Initiative at Edelstein CPA. A warm welcome to our new Edelstein newsletter subscribers. Mary Lou Andre and Stylist Sarah Zengo (pictured here with our lovely employee models Wendy, Emily and Danielle) presented the workshop while Stylist Carolyn Lieberman worked behind the scenes to coordinate the outfits a few days before. "Business Professional" with a shot of color was the theme! If you would like to bring this program to your organization, please contact us.

 
     
  Dressing Well Gift Certificates – Perfect for all Your Valentines!

Dressing Well gift certificates are perfect for both men and women who would enjoy expert help shopping in their closets and at the mall. Follow this link to review our most popular packages. Our gift certificates can be sent electronically and downloaded easily for your convenience. They beat chocolate every time!

 
     
  "The Personal Science of Executive Presence and Influence"
June 19th - 20th Boston, MA


Executive Presence has always been considered a mysterious "X-factor" in leadership. It's a hot topic in discussions about promotions to executive roles. Yet most leaders will tell you there's a gap in the conversation. As a participant in this two day workshop, you'll discover how our friends at Bates Communications are using their scientifically supported model of Executive Presence – which includes facets of Character, Substance & Style – to help executives develop authentic leadership personas that inspire and influence others. Mary Lou Andre will be on hand to deliver the style component of the Bates' model. For more information about this exciting two-day retreat and how you and your team can participate, visit http://www.bates-communications.com/what-we-do/learning-programs/executive-presence-seminar. Registration is currently open and there is an early bird special for those registering before March 21st.

 
     
  Shipping Now Free on all Products in our Dressing Well Online Store

We are pleased to announce that you will no longer pay shipping on any of the products in our Dressing Well store. All of our products also come with a money back guarantee if for any reason they fail to meet your expectations. Browse around and see what we have to offer. Mary Lou Andre's book "Ready to Wear: An Expert's Guide to Choosing and Using Your Wardrobe," our booklets, portable packing rack and dress code packages are all in stock. Virtual consulting starter kits and all gift certificates are delivered via downloads directly to your computer. If you have a product you'd like for us to consider for our store, let us know!

 
     
  Like Us on Facebook (& Check out our New Facebook Page!)

Our Facebook page has a new look. Check it out and "like" us if you haven't already done so. Our enhanced Facebook presence includes photos of past events as well as real time announcements about media appearances and the like. We are very interested in growing our Facebook presence this year and we appreciate your help. Please invite your friends to "like" us too – thank you!

 

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

Holiday Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186The holidays are well under way here at Organization By Design, Inc. With professional and social parties, reunions, philanthropic celebrations and special family gatherings in abundance this time of year, our consultants are busy reviewing the special occasion clothing of their clients and making a plan for how to update these wardrobes in ways that support the lifestyle and personal tastes of the people they serve. Our featured article this month gives our best tips for building a functional holiday wardrobe – enjoy!

In the spirit of the holidays, I want to thank my colleagues for all they do day in and day out to make our collective clients shine. I couldn’t ask to work with a better group of professionals. I am also grateful to all of you for choosing to be in our dressing well community. Your business, referrals and genuine interest in our message are appreciated all year long.

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to dressing well. Have a wonderful holiday, too!

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  Ten Tips for Building a Functional Holiday Wardrobe

#1 Think About Lifestyle. Before you shop, jot down the activities you’ll be doing during the holidays, including any specific parties you’ll be attending. Getting focused ahead of time about the types of clothes and accessories you will need to build a functional wardrobe to wear from Thanksgiving through New Year’s will keep you on track at the store.

#2 Determine Your Retail Sizing. Many women settle for less than a perfect fit. Taking the time to know your correct size – petite, missy, plus or some combination – will make creating a holiday wardrobe that fits and flatters easier.

#3 Pick Your Base Neutrals. Black, gray, navy and winter white are good holiday neutrals that mix and match well with a variety of brighter colors and prints.

#4 Bottoms Up. Focus on bottoms first – pants, skirts and jeans. Once you are happy with these selections, add a minimum of three tops that are appropriate for the types of holiday events you will be attending. If you prefer wearing a dress during the holidays, a versatile LBD (aka little black dress!) could be all you need as it is easy to dress up and down with various shoes, boots and other accessories.

#5 Pick a Signature Color. To further simplify your wardrobe over the holidays, consider accenting base neutrals with one hue that you love. Stock up on tops, bags, shoes and other accessories in the same shade of this color and you’ll get many looks with fewer pieces than you ever imagined. Traditional red is a logical favorite this time of year, as are all shades of berry and plum.

#6 Know Your Fabrics. For extra ease and comfort during the holidays, opt for low maintenance fabrics so you can grab, go and pack if travel is in your plans. Consult a reputable dry cleaner to help you get years of wear out of your finer holiday fabrics. Our friends at Anton’s Cleaners here in New England are our “go to” clothing care experts.

#7 Layer Effectively. Tees, camisoles, shirts, sweaters and jackets can be combined in a myriad of ways to give you climate control and a signature holiday style.

#8 Connect the Dots. Pay attention to buttons, zippers, stitching and other details on clothes and accessories as you assemble your outfits. Typically, it takes a minimum of three similar metals, colors or other details to pull a look together. Keep this in mind when selecting jewelry.

#9 Tie It All Together With Outerwear. Wraps, vests, parkas and traditional wool and rain & shine coats are a necessity for challenging winter weather. You’ll enjoy all your clothes more when you take the time to think through your outerwear options. Make sure holiday outfits are included in this thought process.

#10 Check Out At the Store, Check In With Your Closet. Create a special place in your closet to store all your holiday clothes. Not only will these pieces be out of your way, making day-to-day dressing easier, but they will also be easier to locate and review when an unexpected invitation comes your way!

 
     
  November Q&A

Is it okay to wear ponchos, shawls and wraps in professional offices that are cold? This month we help a site visitor consider better options for dealing with chilly workplace temperatures. Read more...

 
     
  Booking 2014 Corporate Seminars

If you have a professional image project you’d like to get off the ground in 2014, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Mary Lou Andre directly to discuss your needs and ideas. We write (and re-write!) corporate dress codes and introduce them, create and deliver motivational and effective professional image seminars and offer a variety of creative customer appreciation events that help build loyalty with key company constituencies. We welcome the opportunity to work with you.

 
     
  Holiday Gift Certificates Now Available

Our gift certificates are perfect for both men and women who would enjoy having an expert fashion eye help them evaluate and spruce up their wardrobes. We offer one-on-one consulting packages that can be conducted either in person or virtually. Review our most popular gift certificate packages here. We also welcome the opportunity to customize a package for you. Call our office at 800-578-3770 or send an email to info@dessingwell.com to discuss your ideas.

 

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OCTOBER 2013

October Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186Fall is off to a great start here at Organization By Design, Inc. Our consultants are busy working with their private clients and our fall workshop and speaking schedule is in high gear. A warm welcome to all our new email subscribers that we have met on the road this past September. Our work has taken us to Philly, New York, Cape Cod and Boston this fall. We have included some highlights below.

Our popular Top Ten picks for women is our featured article this month. For men, the October Q&A addresses some handy tips to review before shopping for dress shirts. We hope that a few of our tips will resonate with you and make it easy to add some fresh style to your wardrobe.

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to Dressing Well. We look forward to an opportunity to work with you.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President & Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  Top Ten Fashion Picks for Women: Fall 2013

#1 Shades of Plum
Pair black, gray and navy basics with plum for a fresh twist this season.
 
 
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  #2 Pumps with a Point
They elongate legs and add a fashion-forward look to skirts, dresses, trousers and jeans.
 
 
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  #3 Edgy Accents
Add street flair to more demure basics for a more interesting approach to style.
 
 
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  #4 Clutches
Think of them as oversized wallets that can also carry basic essentials. They are an easy way to add color and texture to an outfit too.
 
 
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  #5 Booties
Pick a heel that is comfortable for you and wear them with skinny jeans, leggings or tights for the most fashion-forward look. They also work well peeking out under boot-cut pants and jeans.
 
 
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  #6 Leather Trim Dress
A new twist to last season's color block trend.
 
 
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  #7 Exposed Zippers
Find them on shoes, boots, bags, sweaters and running up the back of dresses and skirts. Those with a gold finish are most prevalent.
 
 
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  #8 Fit & Flare Skirts
Figure flattering & flirtatious! Layer them over leggings for an interesting casual look.
 
 
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  #9 Stacked Bracelets
Two (or more!) add visual interest to arms and wrists. Be sure they connect to the weight, color and textures in the rest of your outfit.
 
 
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  #10 Evening Jumpsuits
Simply the freshest after 5 look around!
 
 
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  Male Q&A: The Power of Dress Shirts

We call dress shirts the centerpiece of male attire. When they fit through the body, flatter your coloring and frame your face well, your style soars. This month we help a male site visitor shop for dress shirts. Read more...

 
     
     
  Repeat Performance at The Boston Chamber

Our work in the leadership development space continues. A personal highlight for us this fall was to be able to deliver our message again at The Boston Chamber of Commerce, this time to their Women's Leadership Program alumnae group. Our first appearance at The Chamber was in 1998! Give us a call if you'd like to explore bringing one of our executive presence programs to your organization. Our seminar and speaking testimonial page has recently been updated for your review.

 
     
  Your Visual Resume at Wharton

Mary Lou Andre returns to Wharton this month to deliver her popular seminar "Your Visual Resume" to students looking to use their professional image effectively during the job search process. This program includes tips sheets and wardrobe checklists along with generous Q&A. We can also include virtual coaching sessions for students. Give our office a call if you'd like to bring this program to a campus you are affiliated with. Follow this link to read more about our programs for Colleges & Universities.

 

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AUGUST 2013

August Greetings
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186Everyone seems to have an opinion about dress codes, especially those worn to a professional office. If you live in New England, tune in to NightSide with Dan Rae on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 tonight (August 16th) as we discuss this topic and more. I'll be live with Dan from 10-11 pm. For information about how to access this broadcast in real time from the internet, see our note further down in this newsletter. We look forward to a lively discussion – your calls will be welcome!

Our featured article this month, " Professional Image Forecast: A More Business Appropriate Approach to Office Wear" makes the case for why dress standards actually matter. Share it with colleagues and give us a call if you'd like our help implementing any of the ideas.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer – a special time of year no matter where you live. We've included a link to a fun article written by Chicago Tribune workplace columnist Rex Huppke. I hope my comments on why shorts are not the best choice for workplace style give you an end of summer smile!

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to Dressing Well. We look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President and Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  Professional Image Forecast: A More "Business Appropriate" Approach to Office Wear

It's no secret that how people choose to dress when reporting to work is linked to confidence, energy, communication and overall business results. Many leaders struggle with how to upgrade dress codes that have become too casual without going back to mandatory suits and ties for all levels of employees. They recognize that overly casual dress codes can be as out of style as overly formal day-to-day attire in some situations and industries. They find it difficult to shift gears and communicate new expectations without alienating people based on age or position.

Our advice to clients who are facing this challenge is to adopt a more "business-appropriate" approach to professional image that holds "business casual" accountable for the oxymoron it has become. Here are some ideas for upgrading your company's professional image standards, shifting your dress code from "business casual" to a more current and results-driven "business appropriate" approach:

Dress for your day. Dressing well in today's 24/7 competitive business environment is more about common sense than anything else. Employees need encouragement and guidance selecting clothing that will positively impact their specific job objectives and responsibilities. New business strategy sessions, for instance, that include a discussion about what is to be worn to pitch new business, represent the company at trade shows or entertain clients at company-sponsored events are how smart companies place relevant importance on a "dress-for-your-day" results-driven mentality. "Winging it" doesn't fly anymore when you need to be customer focused at every turn.

Get Friday out of the rest of the week. Across the country, industry-to-industry, Friday is accepted as the most casual day of the workweek. In many businesses, this casual dress standard has quietly seeped into the rest of the week, leading to an overall slackening of office dress codes. Eliminate this unnecessary liability at your organization (and rise above your competitors) by mandating a business appropriate standard that accurately reflects the professionalism of your industry and company every day of the week.

Unite your workforce by treating your employees as individuals. The modern workforce wants a range of professional image options that complement the company's brand while at the same time allowing each person to honor individual styles, including choices based on heritage. This concept is called "personal branding" and it's something we pay keen attention to when consulting on any dress code. Take some time to develop comprehensive professional image standards that allow employees at all levels to stand out as individuals, and you will be paid back dividends with the pride, comfort and confidence your employees will develop for themselves and your company.

Reward your employees and top customers in new ways. There's more to company apparel programs today than slapping a logo onto any old shirt, jacket or tote. Give your employees and top customers the attention they deserve by introducing them to business attire that's a step above the norm. Many companies that supply corporations with logo-imprinted apparel offer higher-end performance polos, dress shirts, outerwear and accessories in a range of styles at various price points, suitable for any arena, from the golf course to the executive suite.

Lead By Example. Finally, if you are struggling with a workforce that is overly causal and lax in their appearance (and attitude!), a good first step to start reversing this trend is to enhance your own style of dress. For example, if you hardly ever wear a jacket, start wearing one. Blazers and sports coats tend to instantly communicate a higher level of expectation from others you interact with both on and off the job. Jean days are another trap for leaders. Jeans are generally perceived as the lowest pant choice on the professional food chain. Even if your company allows them (and it often does make good sense for some companies to keep them as an option), consider removing them from your own work wardrobe if you're looking to send a subtle yet significant message that standards are changing!

The Last Word
Companies spend millions of dollars in the marketplace on their corporate identity. Yet when customers walk through the door, it's the employees that they're doing business with. How your employees dress should reflect your company's culture, its values and its industry. It should also reflect who your employees are. Communicating the importance of professional image to your employees and the advantages it creates for them can only mean a more positive professional experience for both the employee and the customer.

 
     
  Mary Lou on NightSide with Dan Rae – Tonight (August 16th) at 10 PM!

Mary Lou Andre joins popular Boston talk show host Dan Rae on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 to chat about dress codes and more. This is a live call-in show and your questions and commentary are welcome: call 617-254-1030 to participate. Go to iHeartRadio anywhere in the world to log on and listen if you do not have access to the show on your radio.

 
     
  Workplace Fashion in the Chicago Tribune

Is wearing shorts to work ever a good idea? Mary Lou Andre serves as Chicago Tribune workplace columnist Rex Huppke's "personal stylist" as he figures this out. Ellen Kossek (a professor at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management who specializes in work-life issues) also provides terrific insights about how uber-casual attire tends to cause some blurring of the boundaries between work and relaxation. Read the column for yourself.

 
     
  End of Summer Beach Read

When Ready to Wear: An Expert's Guide to Choosing and Using Your Wardrobe was published, many of our good friends promoted it on their websites and blogs. We return the favor whenever we can! We are pleased to suggest author Drew Yanno's new book, In the Matter of Michael Vogel. It's a fast-paced mystery thriller about the drowning of a young boy in a fictional town in upstate New York and the evil adult behavior that caused the murder and led to the cover up. We loved it – we hope you do too! Purchase it on Amazon today.

 

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JUNE 2013

In Celebration of Men
A June Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186With Father's Day around the corner, we're devoting this issue of our newsletter to the men in our midst. Through our corporate seminars, executive coaching, media appearances and private consulting practice, we have helped hundreds of men over the years organize their closets, update their wardrobes and refine their look.

Our featured article this month gives five tips for men interested in building a practical wardrobe that allows them to add their own signature flair. Check out the " Just for Men" section of our website to learn more about how we work with our male customers.

Our doors are open for business all summer. We welcome the opportunity to work with you to design a professional image program for your organization and/or work with you privately. From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to Dressing Well. We look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President and Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

     
  5 Practical Dressing Well Style Tips for Men

#1 Be Prepared with a Suit. Even if you work in a business casual environment, there is still room in your wardrobe for at least one good dark neutral suit that fits you well at your current weight and makes you feel your personal best. Life happens – weddings, funerals, job interviews and the like. Don't compromise the power of being properly attired when it might matter most for you and the people you love.

#2 In Praise of Sports Coats. With or without a tie, an updated sports coat can up your style quotient like no other garment. While a navy blue blazer is a staple in many men's wardrobes and can come in handy when dining in a jacket-required establishment or attending a graduation or other family obligation, there are so many other blazer choices available today that offer a more sophisticated approach to style. Subtle textures, unexpected colors woven into the fabrication and interesting button and pocket placements can all go a long way to increasing your personal and professional presence.

#3 Get Measured. Dress shirts are often called the centerpieces of a man's professional wardrobe. When they fit well, are properly pressed and paired with the right ties, trousers and jackets, the wearer stands out in all the right ways. Interestingly, over half the men we work with have either never been properly measured to determine their correct dress shirt size or are relying on old measurements that are no longer accurate. They settle for less than perfect fitting shirts that can undermine an otherwise impeccable approach to style. Once you establish your "real" shirt size (yes, that means getting measured!), search for brands that fit you well and become loyal to them. This will cut your shopping time in half. Your fashion confidence will also soar!

#4 Move Beyond White. Speaking of dress shirts, most male closets contain a large variety of white dress shirts; while some are new and fresh, others are over 20 years old with an equal amount of mileage showing all over of them! Vow to ditch the dress shirts that no longer fit, are stained and/or you don't have a need for if your dress code has become more business casual over the years. When you stock up on new dress shirts, move beyond white. Blues in a variety of shades are a great first choice when adding color. But don't stop there. There are so many different colors available today (lavender, peach and yellow, to name a few) that add a fresh and appropriate amount of color to dark neutral suiting, even for men working in conservative industries.

#5 Be Bold with Beige. Many men stick to dark neutral suits, jackets and pants for good reason – they hide wear and tear better than lighter choices, are more slimming and can be easier to mix and match. However, a beige suit in warm weather can be a real standout fashion choice as long as it is well coordinated and works with your complexion. Try it with a peach dress shirt, brown shoes and a brown belt. Add a tie that pulls in the brown and beige while complimenting the peach and you'll have a winning look!

Last Word
Our message for men would not be complete without a word about shoes and socks. For many men, shoes are an afterthought, but cheap or unkempt shoes can ruin an otherwise polished look. Dark socks such as navy, black or brown are best. Over-the-calf socks are much better than shorter styles. Coordinating your belt with your shoe instantly pulls your look together. And...going without socks is never appropriate in a business setting, ever!

 
     
  June Q&A Now Posted

This month, we help a male site visitor pack for a business casual off-site meeting for work.

 
     
  Father's Day Gift Certificates

In addition to Father's Day, anniversaries, birthdays and promotions are all good reasons to gift the special men in your life with their own personal stylist. Our most popular gift certificates are posted on our website, including "Just for Men", a three-hour shopping package that allows men to get an update with one of our consultants at a mall of their choosing. You'll be amazed at what we can do in this relatively short period of time – promise! We welcome your orders.

"I gave my husband Bill a Dressing Well Gift Certificate for his birthday. He was initially reluctant to use it. When he finally did, he had a great experience. His consultant, Elizabeth Fragala, was wonderful. In just a few hours, they excavated and assessed his closet, made a shopping list, and shopped for the needed items. Bill had a great time and liked his new clothes so much that when the next season rolled around, he took the initiative to book another shopping trip with Elizabeth on his own. Now that's a successful gift!"
- Kristin Martin, Cambridge, MA


 
     
  In the News: Careerealism.com

A shout out to all the students we met this year on the many college campuses we visited. Mary Lou Andre's "Five Quick Tips for Summer Dress In the Office" is included in an article this month on Careerealism.com.

 

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MAY 2013

May Celebrations
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186Here at Dressing Well, May is one of the busiest months of the year. We speak at a variety of industry conferences and on college campuses, work with companies to get their summer dress codes up to par, and help many of our private clients get ready for graduations, weddings, reunions and the like. We welcome the opportunity to help you celebrate the power of looking good at work and at play this season.

This month's featured article, "Your Visual Resume: 5 Interview Dress Tips", celebrates the college graduates in our midst. Please share it with a young person in your life (and/or use it to give yourself a dressing well refresher course!). Wherever you are in your life, we hope some of these tips resonate with you.

From all of us at Organization By Design Inc. – here's to dressing well!

Best,
Mary Lou
Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
President and Founder, Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com | 800-578-3770

Your Visual Resume: 5 Interview Dress Mantras to Adopt Now

How you choose to dress each day shapes both your own mindset (how you feel about yourself) as well as the reaction of others to you. In a job interview, how you package yourself is especially important. You want to instantly be perceived as competent and confident. Here are a few of our best wardrobe tips to help land (and keep!) the job of your dreams:

#1 Suit Up. With today's more casual workplace rules, many people want to know if they should still wear a suit to the interview. In most fields, the answer is yes, especially for that all-important first interview. When you show up suited, it tells people that you understand job interview etiquette and want to be taken seriously right away.

#2 Relax with Thought. If you're told that you don't need to wear a suit for the second interview, listen and adopt your dress code carefully. For men, we suggest a blazer with well-coordinated dress slacks along with a dress shirt with or without a tie – your call. For women, we also often suggest a blazer with well-coordinated business separates – pants, skirts and tops with conservative necklines – you get the idea!

#3 Add Color Appropriately. While dark suiting is the standard for job interviews (it projects more authority and can be price neutral if you are on a budget), don't be afraid to add color to your interview ensemble – especially when interviewing in creative and less formal industries. Dress shirts, blouses and other professional tops are the easiest and less risky way to do this. Pick hues that compliment your skin tone and personality and make you feel your personal best.

#4 The Details Matter. How you coordinate belts, shoes, socks, hosiery and totes is significant. And don't skimp on alterations; sleeves and hems should be the correct length. Be aware that less is often more in terms of accessorizing – you don't want to create unnecessary distractions. These types of details send subtle yet very significant messages about your attention to the small things that matter a lot in today's competitive business arena.

#5 Don't Let Outerwear be an Afterthought. You are often wearing outerwear when you first meet someone. Make sure yours stands out in only the best way. A trench coat and a well-maintained tote are essential finishing pieces for most business outfits, especially when interviewing.

Last word
We all have a tremendous amount of control about how first impressions are formed about us. Like a resume, your interview attire should be part of your overall game plan and not neglected or ignored. Carve out the time early in the job interview process to be sure you have the right look for the job you want. When you invest in yourself, you invite others to invest back in you.
May Q&A Now Posted

This month we help a site visitor determine what type of business casual pant choices are too casual for the office.
May 11th: Mother's Day Fashion & Book Signing Event, Westborough, MA

Tatnuck BooksellerMary Lou Andre and Dressing Well stylist Carolyn Lieberman will be on hand to answer style questions from 12-2 pm at Tatnuck Books, located at 18 Lyman Street #30, Westborough, MA. Customers will have an opportunity to purchase Mary Lou's popular book "Ready to Wear: An Expert's Guide to Choosing and Using Your Wardrobe" and have it personally inscribed. In addition, they will have an opportunity to enter to win a free closet makeover with Carolyn – a $500 value! Please stop by – reservations are not required.
Dressing Well Gift Certificates for Moms & Grads

If you are looking for unique and meaningful gifts for Mother's Day and college graduations, consider purchasing dressing well gift certificates. We have several gift certificates to choose from, including "Head-to-Toe Style" for moms and "Professional Jump Start", designed especially for graduates. Gift certificates can be sent to you or directly to recipients with your compliments.  We welcome your order!
Belle of the Ball Thank You

Tatnuck BooksellerMore than 400 high school girls walked into a rainbow of prom dresses lined up by size and color at the Holmes Sports Center at Simmons College on Saturday, April 13th and left with not only a dress, but shoes, make-up, jewelry, and a chance to win a myriad of donated prom services. Three hundred volunteers also showed up to make sure the girls had the best experience possible. The Needham Channel and Fox 25 did a great job capturing the event. Please visit the Belle of the Ball  website to view all event photos and video clips and to learn more about this fantastic program run by Anton's Cleaners. In addition, check out photos on the Dressing Well Facebook page from the Bloomingdale's fashion show we hosted to raise money for Belle.

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APRIL 2013

April Reflections:
The Power of the Dress
A Message from Mary Lou Andre

Mary LouI was recently working with an executive coaching client who confided in me that she often declines invitations to industry events, philanthropic dinners and even parties in her private life because she doesn't feel she has the right clothes. As a seasoned professional who is responsible for new business development within her larger role at her company, we talked about the lost opportunities not feeling your personal best presents and how this issue was actually keeping her from reaching her goals.

Long story short, by the end of our day together, we had expanded her wardrobe to include two new dresses that could be paired with jackets, sweaters and wraps and worn to a myriad of day and evening functions. I hope she is smiling reading this and smiling even more wearing her new things. The dresses fit her figure, personality and profession — the true power of dressing well.

As we move into warmer weather, the dress takes center stage in the lives of many women. Our featured article this month "Eliminate Stress with the Versatile Dress" gives our best practices for incorporating the dress trend of the moment into personal and professional wardrobes — enjoy.

Finally, if you have any doubt of the power of wearing the right dress, at the right moment, we invite you to get involved in Anton's Cleaners 9th Annual Belle of the Ball. Scroll down to the "What's New Now" section of our newsletter for more details. Pictured here with me is Fox 25 Morning News anchor Sorboni Banerjee. I appeared on Fox with 4 local teens to support this year's Belle dress drive. Click on the photo to view the segment for yourself — the girls look great and all the dresses are donated! Special thanks to Bloomingdale's for supplying the accessories for the Fox segment and sponsoring our 2nd annual "All About a Dress" fundraiser on March 23rd. The money raised during the event will help to purchase accessories for this year's Belle.

Best,

Mary Lou Andre
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
Founder & President
Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com


Eliminate "What to Wear" Stress with the Versatile Dress: 5 Tips to Consider

Dresses can be fun, flattering and a no-brainer on days when you don't want to think about coordinating an outfit. They can be ultra-casual, such as a sundress or beach cover-up, or make the most formal of statements when heading down the aisle to say, "I do."

Dresses can also work well as professional attire when they are coordinated to set a business tone. They actually offer a nice change from traditional business suits and separates, especially this time of year.

Because dresses are not the easiest garment to fit (e.g., your proportions are different on the top and bottom, you are well endowed or carry weight through your mid-section), you do need to pay attention to the styles that will fit and flatter you best. Classic sheaths, A-line designs and wrap dresses never go out of style because of their timeless appeal and the fit opxions they offer to various figure types.

With these thoughts in mind, here are 5 fresh tips to help you incorporate the dress trend of the moment into your wardrobes this season — hope they make navigating the dress rack a little easier — enjoy!

#1 Beyond the LBD. While the LBD (a.k.a. the little black dress) is where we often start our dress collection journey with our private clients (you just can't beat the night and day versatility), other solid colors such as red, coral, yellow, navy and white offer a fresh twist on this classic favorite and can brighten up your wardrobe for spring.

#2 To Print or Not to Print. Printed dresses are not created equal, especially for professional situations. Subtle, smaller prints work on most body types and sizes and tend to be more office appropriate than bigger, louder prints. Wearing a solid color cardigan or jacket over bolder prints is one way to tone them down for work. A good rule of thumb to follow is that prints much bigger than your fist tend to be too bold for many work situations.

#3 When in Doubt, See a Tailor. A skilled tailor can often perfect the fit of a dress and is worth seeking out before snipping the tags off a dress that you are not sure about. For instance, if the lower half of your body is slightly bigger than the top half, a sleeveless sheath dress in a size that fits through the hips can be taken up at the shoulder to perfect the fit through your upper body. Many of our petite customers also benefit from this style trick if they are interested in a sleeveless dress that is not offered in petite sizing.

#4 Become Your Own Artist. The dress provides a wonderful canvas upon which to accessorize like crazy. Long layered necklaces complement the vertical line of a dress well as do long scarves. If you'd like to show off your waist, a skinny belt at the waist of a simple dress is a good choice. Thicker torsos can often be camouflaged with thicker, wider belts that hold you in. Of course, jackets, cardigans and a variety of shawls and shrugs also add individual style to dresses.

#5 It's a Wrap! Finally, our dress tips would not be complete without mentioning the wrap dress. Those made of matte jersey define the waist, flatter a variety of bust-lines and hug the body instead of clinging to it. The deep V-neck elongates the neck and the slanted vertical line created by the wrap slims the body. If you are well endowed through the bust area and have a hard time keeping the "girls" from popping out, wear a camisole under the dress for extra coverage. It works every time!

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What's New Now

April Q&A Now Posted. This month, we help a site visitor decide when and how to forgo hosiery with skirts and dresses this season.

9th Annual Belle of the Ball. The 9th annual Belle of the Ball will be held on Saturday, April 13th at Simmons College in Boston. We are pleased to be one of the partners, training the personal shoppers and being on hand to trouble shoot fit and style challenges. For more information about this great event and how you can donate and get involved, visit www.antons.com/belle. You'd be amazed at the power of your goodwill!

Fox 25 Boston Appearance. Our appearance on Fox 25 Boston on March 21st has been added to our media archives. Mary Lou Andre appeared live on the set with teen models Meriel Conroy, Mae Hardebeck, Ally D'Alleva (all from Needham) and Semirah Dolan from Bridgewater to promote the Belle of the Ball prom dress drive. Special thanks to Dellaria Salons for sending a wonderful team of stylists to do the hair and make-up for the teens.

Coming Up On Facebook.Photos from the 2nd annual "All About A Dress" fashion show and fundraiser held at Bloomingdale's Chestnut Hill on Saturday, March 23rd will be posted on our Facebook page soon. The designer fashion show was stunning and the prom fashion segment just as grand! Fashionistas of all ages will not want to miss these photos! If you haven't already done so, be sure to "Like" us so you are notified when the photos go live.

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MARCH 2013

March 2013

A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186We are pleased to unveil our new Dressing Well website. Have a look, click around and let us know what you think. Like any good makeover, we've enhanced the style to complement what lies beneath – a 20-year-old brand that has stayed true to its core mission of helping men and women look and feel their personal best. We hope you like our new look!

If you are interested in your own makeover this season, please give us a call. Spring is in the air and our consultants are here to help you master the art of dressing well in your closet and at your store. We are including our popular "Top Ten" picks for spring here for you, too. We hope a few (if not all!) of these ideas resonate with you and help put a little fun and focus into how you approach dressing this season.

We continue to be busy speaking at companies, conferences and a myriad of fashion events. We are happy to be hosting the 2nd Annual "All About A Dress" fashion show on March 23rd at Bloomingdale's in Chestnut Hill, MA in support of the 9th Annual Belle of the Ball. Scroll down to the "What's New Now" section of this newsletter for more information. All 43 Anton's Cleaners, the event's primary sponsor, are accepting dresses for Belle of the Ball now through April 1st. The Anton family celebrates 100 years in business this spring! It is wonderful to work with a multi-generational company that values family as much as the communities it serves.

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here's to dressing well. We welcome your inquiries and the opportunity to work with you this season. Think spring!

Best,

signature
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
Founder & President
Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com

 

Top Ten Fashion Picks: Spring 2013

#1 Citrus Shades

While not as bold as last year's neon hues, they are just as cheerful. Think tangy orange, sunny lemon and lime green. Wear them alone, mix them together or use them as separates to effortlessly take all your base neutrals — navy, black, white, beige and gray — into spring with understated style.


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#2 Floral Dresses

Think beyond solid colors and the LBD (aka little black dress) and move into dresses with any kind of floral prints from bold and colorful designs to delicate and pastel patterns. If you need to tone this look down, add a jacket in a solid color or cover the top half completely by layering a neutral sweater over it. You now have a unique skirt outfit!


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#3 Print on Print

The key to combining prints well with one another is to have a consistent color theme. For instance, pair a black and white floral skirt with a black and white polka dot top. This look is often best balanced by wearing the smaller of the two prints on the top half of your body.


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#4 Nude Pumps

They make legs look longer and coordinate well with colorful suits, dresses and skirts. They also look fresh with black, navy and pastel apparel.


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#5 Elbow Length Sweater

The perfect companion for modern pants and skirts when you want to be covered yet not totally buttoned up. Belts, necklaces and scarves layer beautifully over them and they slip under jackets well too.


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#6 Oxford Shoes

Oxfords in a variety of colors and textures are being hailed as the new "go to" winter-to-spring comfort shoe, especially among the preppy set! Ballet flats and wedges are still relevant but oxfords are getting a lot of attention.


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#7 Lace

Find it in traditional places like on dresses, skirts and blouses, shoes and bags. It helps soften the grunge look of the moment when placed on sweatshirts, jeans and leggings.


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#8 Leggings

Legs transition nicely to spring with leggings, which resemble a footless tight. Worn with skirts and dresses, they chase the chill while lightening up your look. Available in an assortment of colors and patterns this season, they look great with a variety of shoe styles and heel heights and they balance loose sweaters and longer tops. Editor's Note: "leggings" are not pants and won't pass too many corporate dress codes!


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#9 Color Blocked Handbags

While color blocking continues to be a significant trend on clothing, there is a particular emphasis on color-blocked handbags and totes at all price points this season. Top handle totes, clutches and satchels all carry the trend well. Find one that you love and pair it with solid, colored, pastel and printed clothing – no need for it to be perfectly matched at all times!


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#10 Statement Sunglasses

These might be all you need to up your style quotient this season. They are that fabulous!


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Dressingwell.com Makeover

We hope you like our new site! Special thanks to five fab women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make it a reality — Marianne Cooley, Julie Sherman, Jenny Fuller, Sarah Zengo and Sabina Grady. Mary Lou's two boys — John and Tim Andre — also contributed significant creative direction!

Fashion & Fundraising – Help Us Support Two Great Causes

  • On March 23rd, we host the 2nd annual "All About a Dress" designer fashion show at Bloomingdale's in Chestnut Hill, MA from 1-3 pm. This event is free and open to the public – come and bring a friend! Bloomingdale's will donate 10 percent of sales to benefit Belle of the Ball. Enter to win great prizes too!
  • On April 11th from 7-9 pm, Mary Lou Andre serves as MC for a fashion show to benefit the Needham Community Council CAP (Child Assault Prevention) Program and Needham DVAC (Domestic Violence Action Committee). This first ever fashion show to support the Needham Community Council featuring clothing and accessories from the Council Thrift Shop modeled by Needham local celebs! 

For more information about all our events, please visit our dressingwell online events page.

March Q&A Now Posted

Is there such a thing as having too much black and white in a wardrobe? This month, we help a site visitor wear her black and white wardrobe well.

Like Us On Facebook

Finally, we're growing our social media presence. If you have not already "liked" us on Facebook, please consider doing so to keep in touch between newsletters and learn what we are up to in real time!

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FEBRUARY 2013

February 2013

A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla sz cl dfs

For me, winter here in New England is more enjoyable when I keep busy with work, make time for outdoor winter sports with family and friends and have plenty of spring magazines in my midst to remind me that warm weather is right around the corner. Since we also consider shopping a winter sport, we’re sharing our best advice about what to pick up on the winter clearance racks — enjoy!

This month, we are happy to introduce Carolyn Lieberman, our newest consultant. Carolyn is up and running providing great service to her clients and welcomes the opportunity to work with you. Carolyn is pictured here with me, to my right, and consultant Sarah Zengo at the Dress for Success Boston luncheon we attended together at the beautiful Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston last month. The event raised over $200,000 to support the good work of the organization’s Boston chapter. Scroll down to the What’s New Now section below to learn more about Carolyn’s unique contributions to our firm and why her clients love her!

From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., here’s to Dressing Well. We are busy booking spring seminars and workshops and appreciate your referrals and business.

Best,

signature
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
Founder & President
Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com

Winter Clearance Wonderland: 5 Items to Stock Up on Now

An easy way to give yourself an end-of-winter wardrobe lift while cost effectively building your wardrobe for seasons to come is to take advantage of end-of-winter clearance sales. Here are five winter wardrobe staples to look for now:

#1 Cashmere Sweaters & Scarves. Called the Cadillac of all wools, cashmere is more expensive than merino and lamb’s wool with good reason — it lasts longer when cared for properly, can be worn in more than one season and is less itchy than other wools. A few classic cashmere sweaters and scarves can last a lifetime. We always find cashmere steals on the clearance racks for our clients this time of year.

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#2 Winter Coats. Merchants are motivated to sell off their coat collections right now to make room for their daily spring arrivals. Make their real estate problem work for you by visiting your coat collection and focusing on what you’d like to replace or add. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to get what you need when you arrive at the store with a fresh focus. Best part — you won't feel guilty buying the coat that felt like a splurge at the beginning of the season when it’s up to 70 percent off!

coat1 coat2 coat3

#3 Knee-Leather Skirts. When properly coordinated, leather can add a significant amount of style to your wardrobe. While it’s tempting to stock up on leather goods that are on sale, we advise against investing in pieces that might age quickly. A great find is knee-leather skirts. The length sets them apart from shorter and long cuts that go in and out of style more quickly.

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#4 Bright Colored Gloves. Bright Colored Gloves. Black and brown gloves tend to sell out quickly so it makes sense to buy them when you need them, even if they are full price. Gloves in great colors like red, fuchsia, turquoise and yellow can add fun to a wardrobe and become true fashion finds when purchased on sale. When you are buying gloves — particularly this late in the season when pickings are slim — err on the side of a bit tight rather than a bit large, as these items always stretch with wear.

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#5 Simple, Neutral Tops. We tend to stock up on the “in” color tops for our clients at the beginning of a season. You want to get the most mileage out of them and they tend to sell out quickly. If you find simple layering tops in basic colors (e.g., black, cream, beige or red) during end-of-winter clearance sales, grab them. Our friends at myadea.com make excellent lightweight shells that layer superbly. While they rarely go on sale, they’re worth their weight in gold to our clients, especially those who frequently wear jackets and sweaters to the office. If you order, go one size up as they are quite fitted.

adea1 adea2  

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What's New Now

Welcome Carolyn! We are pleased to announce that Carolyn Lieberman has joined our firm as a fashion consultant and is up and running with her own clientele. Notes a recent client, "I absolutely love Carolyn. She has great fashion sense, knows how to articulate why something works or doesn’t work and intuitively knows just when to gently encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things that I would never have considered on my own. She is organized, has a great energy level and is confident in her decisions. She is sensitive to budgets and moves the process along without wasting time. I am thrilled with the two closet consultations and the shopping trip I have had with Carolyn. I have fewer clothes but more to wear. Thank you for setting me up with such a wonderful person and true professional." To read more about Carolyn, follow this link. She welcomes the opportunity to work with you!

February Q&A Now Posted. This month we help a site visitor pack for a cruise.

Valentine's Day Gift Certificates Available Now. If you’re looking for a memorable and unique Valentine's Day gift for the special people in your life, consider DressingWell gift certificates! Perfect for both men and women who would enjoy expert help in their closets and at the mall. Follow this link to review our most popular packages. For your convenience, you can send our gift certificates electronically or easily download them. They beat chocolate every time!

© 2013 Organization By Design, Inc. / Wardrobe Management & Fashion Consulting
No portion of this article can be used without permission.
Contact info@dressingwell.com if you would like to discuss our dressingwell.com syndication program.

Read two months worth of our free fashion newsletter now!

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JANUARY 2013

Happy New Year!

A Message from Mary Lou Andre

mla fall2012 150X186January is always a good time to take stock of your personal and professional goals and make a plan to accomplish them. Whether they’d like to lose weight (or at least look like they did!), start a new job , get promoted or just want to get out the door feeling better than ever, many men and women have turned to us over the years as one of their first steps towards transforming their careers and lives.

When you feel good about yourself, things begin to fall into place at an accelerated pace and new opportunities present themselves with more clarity and purpose. Even the process of going through your closet and retiring things that no longer serve you can be an empowering exercise, especially when you partner with one of our expert consultants to guide you. Whether in your closet, at the mall or even virtually, we welcome the opportunity to help you accomplish your goals throughout 2013.

As we look ahead to the new year, we are grateful to be continuing the work we love. From all of us at Organization By Design, Inc., Happy New Year — make it your best year yet!

Best,

signature
Mary Lou Andre
Editor, dressingwell.com
Founder & President
Organization By Design, Inc.
mlandre@dressingwell.com

Five Fun Fashion Predictions for 2013

#1 Shoe Trends. Although more comfortable than we ever thought they could be, look for extreme platform shoes to start to fall out of fashion by the end of this year. More ladylike heels are destined to return (they always do!), and we predict that “wedges,” another very popular shoe style right now, will be around for a longer period because they connect comfort to classic styling more effectively.

platform wedge  

#2 Nude Pumps. If you ever doubted Kate Middleton’s influence on the fashion world, we have two words for you: nude pumps! Nude pumps at every price point started flying off shelves the minute she put them on. We love them because they can make legs look longer and for the ease at which they coordinate with colorful skirts and dresses. Nude pumps also look fresh and fashionable with black and navy clothing. We say this trend will continue, especially this spring and summer!

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#3 Ralph Lauren Dresses. Up until a few years ago, it was hard to find an affordable and stylish line of dresses suitable for hard to fit bodies, especially for working women. Enter Ralph Lauren stretch dresses. Whether we are working with petite, regular or plus size clients at upscale stores like Bloomingdale’s or at more moderately priced establishments such as Macy’s, RL dresses made in sturdy yet light-weight stretch material are often our “go to” brand because they offer an easy, flattering fit without the expense of alterations. This particular fabric is versatile enough to wear year-round too, especially when it covers arms and falls at or just above the knee. Sleeveless options layer well under jackets and sweaters. Hosiery (including tights), boots and pumps all work well with this fabric, and you can dress up and down easily with accessories. If the morning news shows are any indication, these dresses (especially those in vibrant colors) will continue on as a significant, year-round dress option. I spot them daily when I am perusing local and national newscasts, knowing other stylists are on to them as well!

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#4 Grunge. Spring fashion spreads show that a return to "grunge" is just around the corner. What seems to make this trend slightly more appealing this time around is the softer and more wearable fabrics that many of the designers adopting these looks are using for their Collections. There are also more options for toning the look down a notch. For instance, a loose, "tattered" top over slim leggings paired with ballet flats is a moderate way to carry off the trend. Having said that, many of you will undoubtedly want to skip over this look completely, adopting the motto, "If you wore it the first time around, consider skipping it when it comes back!"

grunge

#5 Short Locks. Finally, as soon as the trailers for Les Miserables started showcasing a short, stylish do on Anne Hathaway, we knew we’d be getting an influx of inquiries from our clients about going short with their hair too. What makes this modern pixie look work for more and more women these days is advanced cutting techniques and styling products. Consult with a reputable stylist and go for it if you have the confidence (and attitude!) to pull it off. We love the look!

anneh

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What's New Now

Celebrating Self-Sufficiency — A Luncheon to Benefit Dress for Success Boston. We are pleased to continue our support of Dress for Success Boston at their sixth annual luncheon and auction at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, MA on Friday, January 25th. The event starts at 11:30 am and tickets are $175. For more information, call 617-633-1862 or email emmy@ewhitneyevents.com. Bid on auction items from your computer (including a closet makeover with a dressingwell.com consultant) now through the 25th at http://www.biddingforgood.com/dfsb. To learn more about how you can support this outstanding national organization, visit their website.

January Q&A Now Posted. While working out is definitely the way to achieve long-term health and vitality, there are fashion "short-cuts" available to help slim your frame without going to the gym. Follow this link for advice about how to camouflage a thick waistline.

Like Us on Facebook. Finally, one of our New Year resolutions is to grow our social media presence. If you have not already “liked” us on Facebook, please consider doing so to keep in touch between newsletters and learn what we are up to in real time!