Two of the biggest wardrobe challenges of the summer are work and weddings: both require you to look polished but you don’t want to wind up buying something you can’t wear on a regular basis. Stylist Mary Michele Little gave us some tips on how to look perfect for every occasion and get the most out of each piece.
SB: Spring and summer is wedding season! What dress shapes will fit each body type? What works for pear shapes, petites, hourglass, apple, plus size, etc?
ML: Buying clothing that works for your body type is KEY! It’s the best way to visually knock off a few pounds and look sleek and svelte, no matter what your size.
One of my favorite styles for hourglass and pear figures is the wrap (or faux wrap) dress. It shows off the waist and your curves, while gently skimming the hips.
Petites should stick with dresses in solids or small to medium prints and avoid any that that ‘wears’ them.
Plus size women can rock a big print, which can actually camouflage a large tummy or hips. Stick with darker colors, wear shapewear and choose a pair of shoes that make your legs look wow!
SB: Is okay to wear the same dress to multiple weddings? What type of dress and accessories should I buy that will work on multiple occasions?
ML: Possibly: if you will be around a different crowd, then wearing the same dress is a possibility. Also, if the dress is not very memorable and can be worn with different accessories, then it’s fine. To wear something on multiple occasions, choose one in one of your best neutral colors with timeless styling and dress it up with pops of color, different shoes and accessories.
SB: There are tons of color choices this spring – pastels, for example, are big. How do I know what colors will flatter me?
ML: The best way is to work with a professional to have a personal color analysis done. Otherwise, ask yourself if the colors wash you out or make your skin look vibrant. Anything that washes you out (such as pastels) are a no-no. Take note of the color trends and which ones work for you, but don’t assume they all will. Choose your very best and stick with them.
SB: As a young professional, I work in a business casual office but I want to add a little more polish to my look. Where do I start?
ML: Choose a suit that’s in a color other than black. Your hair color is a great guide – wearing your ‘hair enhancer’ as one of your best neutrals is a great way to personalize your look and stay out of the ‘black pack’. Mix in prints (leopard, dots) or color (such as in a jacket or cardigan) and wear things in a fresh and new way.
SB: What’s appropriate to wear to the office in the summer?
ML: Sleeveless dresses or tops can be worn with a cardigan or lightweight jacket. It’s good to cover arms and you may get chilly. Ensure that if you wear white, your lingerie is not visible. Wear sandals with structure and not just ‘flip flop’ type shoes.
SB: Are there items I can buy that will work both in the office and on the weekend?
ML: Yes! Cute tops, cardigans, dresses, skirts – when you buy items that are versatile, they can take you from work to weekend easily.
SB: Any tips on how to get dressed quickly every day without sacrificing style?
ML: Know your style, create a wardrobe strategy that works for your personal attributes and your lifestyle, and shop not only when you ‘need’ something but well in advance so you’re sure to have what you need when you need it. Take the time to work with a professional or invest some time in researching what will work to bring out your best. Maintain your wardrobe like you do your car and it will serve you for years to come.
SB: When is it appropriate to hire a personal stylist?
ML: Whenever you’re able to! A stylist isn’t just for high-level execs or special occasions. Hiring a stylist can save you money in the long run and help you look great every day whether you’re a stay at home mom, a career woman or retired and enjoying your life. She can take the stress out of shopping and help you get dressed effortlessly everyday.
SB: Do you offer any services or products for girls on budget?
ML: Yes! I have a home study course (the Joy of Getting Dressed) and my StyleFinder(tm) Express Makeover are created to give you the essentials at prices that won’t break the bank.