Frequently Asked Questions

Dear Dressing Diva:
I have been out of the dating scene for ten years. I am now divorced and ready to jump back in. How do I dress for a first date?

The goal here is to be the best ďyouĒ possible, not dress like you are trying to keep up with the twenty-year-old set. Wearing clothes that are too short, too tight or too trendy makes you look cheap and give the impression that you are trying too hard. You are a mature, experienced woman who should be projecting elegance, sophistication and class. If you have worn leggings, miniskirts, leather pants, jean jackets, prairie skirts or Birkenstocks in previous decades, donít re-run them now. Pick one great stand-out jacket, trouser or dress and make that piece the center of your date look. All the attention should be on your face and what you are saying, and well-chosen earrings or a necklace can accomplish this. Too much cleavage will not attract the kind of attention you want. Donít let your outfit take over the date.

Dear Dressing Diva:
I own many pairs of pleated dress pants that I wear to work. Now some of my office mates are into flat front pants. Can I still wear pleats or is it a fashion mistake?

Pleated dress pants for men are traditional and will always be on the fashion scene. One pleat is preferable to two because two pleats add a lot of bulk that most men donít need. Flat front pants are sporty, have a modern, clean look and make the wearer look as if he dropped ten pounds. If you canít seem to let go of pleats, try to infuse your wardrobe with a few flat front pants for an updated look and some variety. The women in your life will thank you.

Dear Dressing Diva:
I look into my closet and all I own is a sea of black clothing-pants, jeans, skirt and dresses. How can I break out of this rut and revive a dead wardrobe?

Yes, black is slimming and most women own way too many garments in this basic shade. You may have been scared of color or prints in the past, but adding some to your wardrobe is the quickest way to use the black clothing to your advantage and update your look at the same time. To avoid the funeral look, it is nice to buy a few knit tops or blouses in clear, bright colors to wear next to your face to appear younger, more vibrant and fashion forward. If colors seem like too great of a leap, try a smaller, geometric print in black and white or color to get a new groove going. Too much black next to your face can bleach you out, especially if you have light complexion. In the future, you may want to branch out into chocolate brown or gray tailored jackets to soften your look.

Dear Dressing Diva:
I have to go to a job interview and I just tried on my old suit from a few years ago. It is way too tight and I donít have time to get any new suit tailored. What should I do?

Clothing manufacturers have heard your cries and have come to the rescue with Suit Separates. They are available in most major department stores and were created for unexpected events-funerals, job interviews, school dances and shot gun weddings! Suit Separates come in basic dark colors as well as more fashionable pinstripes from Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. You can buy any size jacket and any size pant with a finished hem. This is extremely helpful when you donít have a lot of time or are out of proportion. By purchasing Suit Separates, you can save the alteration money you would have spent trying to make an off-the-rack suit fit. Suit Separates are also available for women. Check Antonio Melani and Alex Marie at Dillards and Tahari at Macyís. Genius!

Dear Dressing Diva:
I go shopping at the mall and try on tops that make me look pregnant, skinny jeans that donít fit my hips and stilettos that I could never walk more than a few feet in. I come home without buying anything, but I need clothes! Any ideas?

As I counsel my clients, just because fashion designers put it out on the market, doesnít mean you have to buy it! Donít be a fashion victim! You really have to assess the trends and find out which body types they were designed to benefit. Know what pieces you are missing in your wardrobe and purchase only those that would create useful and wearable outfits. Trends are not always age appropriate, figure flattering or cut for your body type. A smart woman builds a wardrobe on classically-cut, better quality core pieces (trousers, jackets, skirts) and adds only a select few, less expensive trendy pieces each season. Looking your best is all about making the right choices from a sea of possibilities based on your body type and wardrobe needs.

Dear Dressing Diva:
Please settle an on-going debate.  Should your socks match your pants or your shoes?

To avoid having the eye of the beholder stop at your ankles, try to match the color or at least the tone of your trouser.  By matching the socks to the trouser, it looks much better when sitting down and elongates the leg.

Dear Dressing Diva:
I have seen the word “microfiber” on clothing labels.  What is microfiber?

Microfiber a super fine form of polyester fiber used in fabric production.  It gives fabrics a soft, luxurious feel, stain resistance and prevents wrinkles.  Clothing can be 100% microfiber or other fibers such as cotton, rayon or lycra can be combined with microfiber to enhance their durability.

Dear Dressing Diva:
I am confused when trying to coordinate a striped shirt with a striped tie.  Do you have any suggestions to make this easier?

There are two real rules when pairing a stripe shirt and tie.  First, look at the stripe colors in the shirt and pick the most predominate color.  The coordinating tie should have this color in it.  Second, the stripe in the tie has to be bolder (wider) than the stripe in the shirt so your eye can differentiate foreground and background.  It is also acceptable to mix a solid tie, geometric tie with a diamond or square pattern or even a paisley tie with a striped shirt, as long as you pull some of the colors from the shirt stripes.

Dear Dressing Diva:
I have a June wedding to attend in Atlanta.  The invitation reads “creative black tie.”  Can I wear a black dress or is this inappropriate?  Is my husband limited to wearing a tuxedo or are there other options?

First, the wedding’s time will help to define what to wear.  For an afternoon wedding, I would avoid black and choose a floral print or light colored solid dress.  Use earrings, an elegant shawl, embellished shoes or beaded purse to make your outfit “black tie.”  For an “after five” evening wedding, a black dress with dressy accessories is appropriate.  For your husband, a black solid or subdued pinstripe suit would be fine for an afternoon wedding.  For an evening wedding, black tie usually means a tuxedo, but the “creative” adjective means he can have fun with colored or patterned tux shirts, interesting cuff links, and a dressy, long tie instead of the usual bowtie.

Dear Dressing Diva:
I am starting to get very burned out wearing suits to the office every day, but feel like I have to fit into the “old boys club” at the law firm where I work.  Help!

There are ways to look polished at work and retain an air of femininity.  Instead of a cotton blouse, opt for a lace-edged camisole, v-neck light sweater, scarf or a silk/lycra blend shirt.  For spring and summer, take a solid suit jacket and wear it over a floral skirt & blouse or solid dress.  Break up your patterned or striped suits and pair them with solid pieces for a newer combinations.  If you can’t break from the traditional suited look, make sure your accessories-purse, shoes, conservative jewelry and hairstyle are softer and feminine.  For an extra treat, indulge yourself by wearing some fine lingerie underneath it all!

Please email us at diana@phoenixpersonalshopper.com.