Hide and Chic: Dress Your Assets
Sizzling days. Hot nights. Bare arms? Nude legs? Summertime challenges even the most confident of us when figuring out what to wear.
Ladies, our physical assets don’t disappear with time; they merely change. What you wear is something you can control when changes in your body feel out of control. The key is to accentuate the positive and draw attention away from the not-so-positive any time of year.
Dress for your body rather than for “what’s in.” That said, don’t get stuck in a style rut. Experiment! Being open to new possibilities in life, including what to wear, will keep you feeling young. Work with a personal shopper to help you try on new ideas. The service is gratis at most large stores. Always remember that style doesn’t age, it evolves.
FRAME YOUR FACE
As our skin tone and hair change, so will the colors that flatter our face. Some past favorites may now make our complexion appear harsh or sallow. Those are the garments we instinctively no longer reach for. Experiment by trying on several new colors until you get it right. You’ll know it when you do. Shades of navy and silver/grey are flattering alternatives to black; they look great on breezy summer evenings, especially with white pants. They also transition into fall. Left: Eileen Fisher Silk Linen Drape Neck Top ($158). Take a clue from style icon Diane Keaton: You can’t go wrong wearing pearls. They’re classic for bringing light to the face. Right: Carolee Michelle 12mm Two Row Pearl Necklace ($60). And frame your face in a complimentary color by turning up your collar. It will also add stature to your overall appearance.
Bold necklaces detract from a wrinkly neck just as oversized rings detract from aging hands. Like pearls, they can also bring a pretty glow to your face. Left: Miu Miu Two-Strand Jewel Necklace ($450). Wearing a scarf tied around your neck is an easy way to bring a flattering color to your face, while adding an interesting texture or pattern to your overall look. If it’s long, it can be tied to obscure an expansive middle. Wearing the ends asymmetrically will give you a taller, slimmer appearance. Right: Burberry Bold Color Check Square Scarf ($325).
Bare your shoulders. They’re sexy and slow to age. Take a lesson from Diane Sawyer, who often wears garments that are cut off-the-shoulders for special nights out. Center: Michael Kors Ribbed-Trim Top (sale: $447). And if your cleavage is an asset, don’t be shy about bringing attention to it. The subtler, the more intriguing. Consider wearing a tailored suit jacket with a deep V-neck, which will also elongate your appearance. For more coverage, wear it with a pretty camisole. Right: Anne Klein Two-Piece Pantsuit with Scalloped Neckline (sale $179.99).
What to wear when the weather is warm? How to look fetching without exposing your upper-arms or a sun-ravaged décolleté? Wear sheer or mesh fabrics in colors or patterns that obscure what lies beneath. They’re feminine and alluring and you won’t look bundled up. Right: Ombre Delight Zena Top (sale $39.99); Far right: Eileen Fisher Scoop Neck Shirt with Cami in Crinkle Silk Chiffon ($238).
Three-quarter and elbow length sleeves show off the thinnest part of your arm, so keep them exposed. Magashoni Elbow Sleeve Button Up Cardigan ($214). Style Tip: “Push up sleeves,” especially if you have wide hips, to visually break the horizontal plane of fabric.
Wear a large cuff or multitudes of bracelets for a bold gesture of chic. They will bring attention away from your upper arms. Maruska Cuff Bracelet ($48).
For many of us, the waist becomes less defined as our hormones change. Create the illusion of a waist by wearing a fitted jacket for shape, a vest or a blouse with ruffles in front to obscure your waist, or a dramatic top with exaggerated sleeves paired with a fitted bottom. Left: Talbot’s Tiered Ruffled Cardi ($49.50).
LONG & LEAN
Wearing a white or neutral column of color is a sure way to look slim and have stature. It also makes it easier to add color and accessories to attract the eye to your favorite assets. Don’t break up the vertical line by buttoning a jacket over them. Right: BCBGMAXAZRIA Natalia Striped 1-Button Jacket ($188).
LEGS: THE LONG & SHORT OF IT
If you have great legs, show them off by wearing skirts and dresses. How short is too short? A hem that hovers at the knee is always appropriate. Some women, like Diane von Furstenberg, continue to wear shorter hem lengths and have the confidence to pull it off.
A nude-colored shoe will make your legs appear longer. Michael Kors “Zoe” Slingback Sandals (sale $73.50). If your legs have become mottled with veins and other discolorations and the weather is too warm for hosiery or boots, use leg tanner or make-up to even their appearance. Several salons offer Suvara, a new spray tanning process that is also a body-nutrient treatment.
ALL TIME CHIC
The caftan was around well before it was the exclusive dress of Ottoman sultans. But it was after a visit to Morocco in the 1960s that Vogue editor Diana Vreeland declared caftans to be chic and fashionable for “The Beautiful People,” including Babe Paley, C.Z. Guest, Mica Ertugun, and Mirella Agnelli. Vreeland also inspired Oscar de la Renta to include them in his collections. A universally flattering garment, it remains a classic for chic resort entertaining. Oscar de la Renta Printed To-the-Floor Caftan (Sale $1,014).