WEEKLY FASHIONTRIBES "FASHION, FASHION, FASHION" PODCAST: Interview with Tracy McWilliams About Her Book "Dress to Express: Seven Secrets to Overcoming Closet Trauma and Revealing Your Inner Beauty" (New World Library) Which Demonstrates How to Overcome Your Closet Trauma & Reveal Your Inner ?Fashion Goddess & Beauty: MP3 File
Do you feel as stylish & beautiful on the outside as you do on the inside? If not, don't worry...you not only have a lot of company, but a great solution: Tracy McWilliams's new book Dress to Express: Seven Secrets to Overcoming Closet Trauma and Revealing Your Inner Beauty (New World Library) - http://www.tracymcwilliams.com/. Step by step, she will help you identify your true Fashion Image, exorcise your clothing emotions, fill your closet with the basics so you can build a wardrobe that really works - no more "I've got nothing to wear" ever again. Along with practical tips for dressing for your body type and "happy" shopping, McWilliams shows women how to connect their inner beauty to the public image they present.
According to McWilliams, there are six clothing personality types:
- SOCIALITE - a woman who is about image, she is willing to spend a lot of time and money on clothing and perfect grooming. Always beautifully dressed even to run errands, her mottos are: "I must look my best at all times" and "How I look influences how I am treated." Designer faves: Chanel, Ungaro, Marc Jacobs. Celeb icon: Catherine Zeta-Jones
- ACTRESS - a woman who wants to stand out, she is outgoing and creative, and loves-loves-loves to be the center of attention. While she loves fashion, it has to be tailored to fit her personality. Her mottos: "I love attention" and "I have to stand out." Fave desigers: Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Christian Dior. Celeb icon: Victoria Beckham
- CLASSIC - all about chic simplicity & being appropriately dressed to go anywhere and do anything. Buys clothing to last the test of time, not because it's trendy. Mottos: "I look classy" and "I am simple elegance." Enjoys Calvin Klein, Armani, Prada. Icon: Diane Sawyer
- ARTIST - more of a Bohemian type that is into creative comfort, flowing fabrics and art-to-wear threads. Mottos: "I love comfortable fabrics" and "I love clothing that looks like art." Designer faves: Eskandar, Elie Saab, Betsey Johnson. Celeb Icon: Shirley MacLaine
- SPORTY - a sporty, casual kinda gal, and often quite preppy. Tends to dress in an easygoing, down-to-earth fashion and loves to be able to get up and get out without excessive amounts of primping and time spent figuring out what to wear. Motto: "I love to be comfortable." Designers: Ralph Lauren, Gap, J.Crew. Icon: Venus Williams
- REBEL - that woman who can pair the most incongruous items and still look great. All about resisting the establishment, she wears pretty much whatever she pleases, and while nothing matches perfectly (she prefers it that way); she puts her own fashion style together. Mottos: "I will wear whatever I want" and "I don't care what you think." Fave designers: any & all as long as she makes the style her own. Celeb Icon: Gwen Stefani
While some people fall into multiple categories, one will still be the most prominent.
After taking the quiz, it's time to figure out what you "want to create in your life, and if that's what you really want, to really take some time and define it." McWilliams points out that many of us float through life without ever defining a fashion comfort level. We simply dress the way we observed growing up, and then, one fine day suddenly realize that we are never comfortable with our clothing choices and wish a fashion fairy-godmother would simply appear and tell us what to wear.
Once you spend the time defining your Clothing Personality - c'mon, you can spare a couple of hours, you're worth it! - it's time to confront your inner closet demons: Clothing Emotions. These are the four main inner drives that lead people to have closet trauma:
- OVERACHIEVER - This is a woman who wants to look perfect, regardless of cost and anything else in her life. "Even if she just bought a great Calvin Klein suit or an awesome Versace dress, she'll probably only wear it once, and never wear it again. She is in this mode of having to look perfect all the time." The underlying emotion is: "I need to be perfect & look that way."
- ACCUMULATOR - Despite having 10 closets stuffed full of clothes, she'll impulse shop for that certain something, and still only wear 20% of the stuff she owns - wearing the same things repeatedly. The emotion: "I do not know who I am" or "I am not feeling whole."
- MODERATE - Tends to be where most people fall into. Will furiously impulse shop if an event comes up where she has to look right. The emotion: "I need to fit in" or "I don't want to make other people feel uncomfortable."
- DEPRIVER - Reflects the emotional pattern of someone who has either minimal interest in clothing or image, or has deprived herself of the right to look & feel good. The emotion: "I do not feel deserving" or "I feel guilty."
Once you've identified your closet demons, it's easy to slay them. Part of what will help is to dress for your body type. Don't fight it - compliment it by focusing on the magic word: proportion. "It's all about what works for your shape," notes McWilliams. "Even out your proportions."
- Narrow shoulders & wide hips? Wear things that accentuate your shoulders & make them look wider - heavier fabrics & patterns on top are good options - and darker clothes in thinner fabrics on the bottom. V-necks are a great way to accentuate your upper body.
- Big shoulders & small hips? Go for form-fitting tops and thin fabrics - don't add any width to your upper body at all. For the bottom, choose heavier fabrics and patterns.
- Hourglass shape: Accentuate the waist.
- Apple shape: Draw attention away from the stomach area. "The last thing you want to do is highlight your stomach, so stay away from belts, and try jackets that are fitted, but don't end right at the tummy but a little further down."
- If you're short-waisted, your height is in your legs. To balance out your vertical proportions, choose tops that are longer and skim over the waist and the hips to bring your upper body into proportion with your lower body. Wearing a jacket that is too short or excessivly cropped will throw off your proportions & make you feel uncomfortable in your clothes.
- If you're long-waisted, your height is in your upper body, and your legs are relatively shorter. Cropped tops work well to create harmonious proportions.
Another key element to consider: dressing from the "top down." You want people to remember you and your face, so "it's important to think about what's going on to highlight your face and upper body, because this is where you want people looking." A bonus of thinking this way is that it not only really helps you to develop your own style, but you can go all out on fun tops and jewelry - which help you stand out as a whole package. To dress from the top down, here are Tracy's Tips:
- FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT. Whether you are big or small busted, figure out what areas you want to stand out. "It's really focusing on knowing your tops, your body, and what you want to do to make it stand out."
- ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES. From earrings to necklaces to scarves to pins to hairclips, these are all rockin' ways to dress from the top down. If your face is round, opt for longer, more linear earrings to make your face look thinner. Long or angular faces should choose rounder earrings.
- V-NECKS FOR EVERYONE! No matter what your body type, they elongate, and direct the eye to take in the body as a whole. "It makes you appear thinner than you are."
And now for the fun part: shopping! Before you head out, take heed of Tracy's pet peeve: sizes. Tattoo this onto your forehead: there is no size standard, so a 6 in one designer can be a 10 in another. "There is no universal size, so the key is to buy things that fit you. It's hard psychologically, but if you love it and it doesn't fit you, go up a size...and then tear the tag out as soon as you get home."
The wardrobe that works for any and all occasions contains basics. Until you have the basics in place, limit your impulse shopping to just what you need. And later, when you've filled in the holes, Tracy advises always asking yourself about a potential impulse purchase: Can I wear this with anything else in my closet? "Think about your closet and what you can wear with it. If the answer is "yes" then by all means - impulse shop!" Only buy what you absolutely love, and don't forget to bring a bra with you when you shop. If you're small busted and tend to wear bras with extra padding, and you try something on in the store - sans bra - that you don't fill out 100%, you might decide not to buy it. But if you're wearing the right bra, chances are it will look fab. And fix your straps once you put the bra on! "We need to learn to fix our bra straps," admonishes Tracy. "We can all be pert." Amen.
The foundation wardrobe should contain:
- SUITS - 2 pantsuits & a formal evening suit. Make sure the pieces can be worn separately.
- SWEATERS - a black turtleneck, a cardigan, a pullover.
- TOPS - a buttondown, 2 camisoles, 3 fun/evening tops, 2 tees (short or longsleeve), 2 "work" tops (wrap or silk), 2 tanks.
- JACKETS - a denim jacket, a designer blazer (eg. a little Chanel jacket that looks good with jeans or for evening.)
- PANTS - black pants. Can you ever have enough of these, really?
- JEANS - for many of us, these are a wardrobe staple (the new head of Chanel USA wore her Seven jeans with a little Chanel jacket and some heels to the interview...and snagged the job!) Have at least 2 pairs, or go for it & have a wardrobe - longer for wearing with higher heels, shorter to pair with flats, and cropped for showing off the new Grecian-style lace-up flats & fab summer pedicures.
- DRESSES - the bare minimum is a little black dress. This is an ironclad rule. With all the fun color options out there this season, opt for a colorful summer dress you can throw on & look fab in seconds.
- SHOES - a pair of pumps or any close-toed option such as a kitten-heel slingback that you can use to dress up your jeans or pants; a pair of casual every-day kicks, an "everything" casual shoe (like a flip flop or Uggs), a pair of casual boots & a pair of dressy boots, and a pair of workout shoes.
- OUTERWEAR - An overcoat, a parka, and a raincoat. This season is great for chic trenches, so keep your body type in mind & take advantage of the windfall.
- HANDBAGS - one for everyday, one casual tote for running errands or going to the market (L.L. Bean makes great ones LLBean.com), a briefcase or work tote, and an evening bag. This is the bare minimum - feel free to expand on your collection.
- LINGERIE - 3 good bras are the minimum: a smooth one to wear under t-shirts, a racerback and an "everyday" bra. As for panties, thongs, and frou-frou sleepwear, the sky's the limit.
- ACCESSORIES - wraps, scarves, jewelry, hats, belts, hair accessories. Make sure you know what you own, and that you wear everything. A great tip from Tracy: Hang up a corkboard in your room: you can stick brooches right into it, and hang necklaces and earrings from pushpins.
And there you have it, the secrets to expressing your inner diva though fashion fabulousness:
- Define your Image.
- Choose your Clothing Personality.
- Claim your confidence & be lifted up. "A woman can be totally beautiful, but if she's sullen, forget it. Be confident."
- Visualize yourself beautiful. When you're trying things on, picture yourself looking gorgeous with your hair and makeup done.
- Defy the Clothing Myths- Know that you don't have to be "thin" to look good; you don't have to be a "creative genius" to dress well; you are pretty enough to look fashionable; if you look too good, it won't make other women jealous & hate you; you don't have to spend a ton of money to look awesome.
- Tame your clothing emotions.
- Connect your Inner and Outer beauty and control your Communication Style - Your inner dialogue is more crucial than you think. Be cognizant of what you're telling yourself when you're getting dressed - stay present & aware of what you are thinking so you can nix that stupid voice telling you you're too fat/ugly/nothing fits right, etc. "Don't focus too much on others, express yourself, and you will look great," advises Tracy.