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Inspiration for Women: Desk to Dinner – The Art of a 16 Hour Wardrobe

In the ‘80s, I was in full-time ‘corporate mode’. I didn’t even consider wearing clothes that would let me transition easily from work to evening. I didn’t think once about including more “feminine” pieces in my wardrobe. It was suit, pantyhose, belt, high heels, briefcase. IBM set the dress code: that’s what we wore. Period. It took me over 8 years to even try to wear a camisole that might show through my blouse. The thing is, you’re not a man and your clothes are one of your most powerful attributes in creating the juice, the power, the sassiness, and yes, the success you desire! Men’s fashions are much more constrained than those for us women. Our clothes really can help define us. You don’t have to wear the “uniform”  that society created. You’re a force to be reckoned with—a woman who’s smart as a whip, focused, and successful. You’re used to super-achieving in almost anything and everything you want to do. You are someone who KNOWS how to make things happen. And you wouldn’t be here today if you didn’t know how to make it in a man’s world. So …. Be authentic! Show up! Be all the woman you are! There is ALWAYS a way to create a great wardrobe that allows you to shine. I am going to show you how to add some sass and sensuality and confidence to your wardrobe and allow you to maximize the advantage of being a woman. I am going to help you take your wardrobe from the desk to dinner. The truth: Most of us in our late 30’s through 50’s are in pretty much the same shape. Our bodies are not as quite as tight and perfect and 22 anymore. There are saggy bits, wrinkly bits, and even sunspots sprouting up. Our kind of bodies won’t fit in tight revealing clothes made for a size 0 with less than 15% body fat. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide your body in a ‘burlap sack’ or ‘dumpy duds’. If the whole wardrobe makeover is a bit overwhelming, here’s what you want to do: 1. Get a personal shopper Get your butt out of the computer chair and into a clothing store; the right, higher end clothes store, like a Nordstrom, Macy, or Holt Renfrew, to name a few. Start asking about personal shoppers and start talking to them. These people have the information that you need! Ask for a quick consultation before you decide to actually engage a Personal Shopper. Bring some of your staple pieces with you, walk into a store, and get an opinion. That helps you decide who you want as a personal shopper and if they can work with you. You want to look and feel great in the outfits that they select. Tell her (or him):
  • I’d like to add some bold/eye catching pieces to my wardrobe
  • I’d like some ‘swishy’, soft and/or textured pieces
  • I’d like some great accent pieces (eg. shoes, purse/bag)
  • I’d like some tops or blouses that I can wear after work so that if I wear a daytime jacket and take it off, then I have a different look – one that accentuates some womanly attributes.
  • I’d like accessories (scarves, gloves, a hat, etc.)
Remember to take some of your own clothes to the store. Let the Personal Shopper (or a great retail person) offer suggestions so you don’t need to purchase a completely new wardrobe. In fact, you may make several visits. Take some photos of other items with your mobile phone so that you have reference for later. If you are less inclined to get an in-person consultation, go online and search for a fashion consultants for women. The digital age makes it incredibly easy. Google “Image Consultant” or “Image Stylist”. Some will work remotely with you. You can take photographs of some of your wardrobe as well as you in some clothes and post them for advice. If all else fails – let a girlfriend who has impeccable taste go through your wardrobe and then out shopping with you. Lunch is on you! 2. Wear flattering make-up I advocate that  every woman who wears makeup needs either a red statement lipstick or a great pink statement lipstick – something that isn’t just neutral. A colour that says: “Here I am!” Go to a MAC counter or to a specialty counter and get a pro to help you pick the shade. Trust me, they see you in a different light than you do (and tell them in which type of light you will mostly be wearing it).  If you aren’t going high end, another tip is get a tester/sample and ask a friend to judge the tone on you. Also, purchase an “under color” that will soften it during the day. Keep them in your purse. When you wear your softer color during the day (presuming you’ve got time to put your lipstick on at all),  then you can add the darker lipstick at night. 3. Get a great pair of dark washed flattering jeans and a pair of statement shoes Lots of times and in many situations, you may be able to wear a great pair of slimming jeans. Dark wash is really the only pair to consider for the ultimate slimming and “desk wear to dinner” option. Team your new jeans with a great pair of shoes!  I am going to call these your “CFM” shoes (if you have to ask what CFM stands for then ask me on our facebook page:).  These shoes are really tall yet still comfortable. They make a statement out of your legs and silhouette.  With the new platforms that are in vogue, you can get quite comfortable platform shoes. Buy a pair – and no, not just in black! You can keep them at the office and slip them on as you head out the door. You can even provocatively dangle them off your foot if you are so inclined when you are at a bar … men love a high heel and this move especially seems to be a show-stopper! It’s not wrong to play up your feminine sensuality! 4. The underworld Spanx has taken over the world – and for good reason.  (Thank you Sara Blakely!) She has allowed us to to show off our current gorgeous curvy shape by helping us appear slightly tighter and more supported. This bodywear holds us together and we still get to show that we’re women. Get the proper support you need – spend the money and get different pieces. It makes the world of difference to your figure and the clothes you can now choose from. 5. Layers, layers, layers Wearing layers is going to create flexibility in your look and help create an easier transition from day to night. Take off your suit jacket to show a fabulous blouse and skirt and replace the blazer with a pashmina or wrap that can drape seductively over your bare arms. Switch up your accessories, adding more sparkle to your nighttime choices and change up your shoes for your fabulous heels. Remember that you are trying to command attention and that is not going to happen if you look like you just stepped out of the boardroom. So to recap, here are your daytime to nighttime essentials:
  • Wear colour(s)
  • Wear skirts and dresses ideally not pants
  • Wear soft, feminine fabrics that accentuate your assets
  • Wear heels (or a great pair of heeled boots)
  • Invest in some statement pieces like fabulous heels or a sparkly blouse
  • Incorporate ONE sparkly, bold, textured, or bright detail into your outfit.
  • Accessorize!
  • Layer your clothing.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is a fabulous wardrobe. Get help or shop online. Once you have the essentials, you will never be wondering what to wear when you are meeting that special someone for cocktails (or looking for the next special someone) or romancing your honey on ‘date night’. It’s both fun and easy to turn from daytime power player to nighttime diva.

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Fiona Fine

Fiona Fine is an Author, Speaker and the Editor-In-Chief of “Women Who Run It: Your Life – Your Love – Your Terms”, an in-box magazine that advocates for and empowers strong successful women around the world; women who are used to running the show at a high level and know how tough and often isolated it can be as a top professional juggling career, relationships, family, health & fitness, and community, while still finding personal time. After a long, unfulfilling and unsatisfying relationship and years in the traditional male world of engineering, IT and corporate recruiting, she decided to put the pleasure back into her existence and to start living life more on her own terms. Now she advocates for women (like her) who wonder how to keep it all from unravelling but still have a harmonized life of love, work, passion and …fun! She is the founder of Goddess Connections (Where Women Create Their Footprint in the World). She is also growing a movement: “How To Put The Fun Back Into Dating” to help women who are at the end of their dating rope to reignite the excitement and fun and create amazing love lives. You can find her at www.goddessconnections.com, www.fionafine. com or on www.facebook.com/fionafine