Article by: MaryEllen | Thursday, February 27, 2014

By Fiona Fine

Being a woman in charge in the workplace and having a vibrant life outside of work can be quite the juggling act at times. Between your responsibilities, expectations and meeting the needs of others, it’s no wonder that you sometimes forget to do things solely for you. Fashion and style in particular can easily become the last of your worries with everything else on your plate.

The truth is I have been guilty of this myself!

For years, I was stuck in ‘corporate mode’ without even considering wearing clothes that would let me transition easily from work to evening. I didn’t think once about including what I would call more “feminine” pieces in my wardrobe. Although, part of me wanted to experiment with different styles and length of skirts and pants, it seemed easier not to bother.

The thing is, we are not men and our clothes are one of our most powerful attributes in creating the juice, the power, the sassiness, and yes, the success we desire! Men’s fashions are much more constrained than ours. Our clothes really can help define us. You don’t have to wear a “uniform” that society created.

The truth: Most of us in our late 30’s through 50’s often have bodies that are not quite as tight and perfect like they were at age 21. There are saggy bits, wrinkly bits, and even sunspots sprouting up. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide your body in a ‘burlap sack’ or ‘dumpy duds’!

You know you are a force to be reckoned with, and you are used to super-achieving in almost anything and everything you want to do. You are someone who KNOWS how to make things happen! 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, 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 your desk to dinner!

If a whole wardrobe makeover is a bit overwhelming, here’s how to start:

1. Get a personal shopper

Get your butt out of the computer chair and into a clothing store. Visit the higher end clothing stores, like Nordstrom, Macy’s, or Holt Renfrew (Canadian), to name a few.

Ask about personal shoppers, and start talking to them. These people have the information that you need about what is available in the store and what would best supplement your existing wardrobe. Ask for a quick consultation before you decide to actually engage a Personal Shopper (PS). Bring some of your staple pieces with you, walk into an actual store, and get an opinion. That helps you decide who you want in 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 (for example, shoes or a 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 of my womanly attributes.
  • I’d like accessories (scarves, gloves, a great hat, etc.).

Remember to take some of your own clothes to the store. Let your PS (or even a great retail person) offer suggestions so you don’t need to purchase a completely new wardrobe to get started. In fact, you may make several visits. Take photos of possible purchases with your mobile phone so you have them for reference later.

If you are less inclined to get an in-person consultation, go online and search for a fashion consultant 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 of your 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 makeup

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 color that says: “Here I am!”

Go to a MAC counter or to a specialty cosmetics 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 both of them in your purse. You wear your softer color during the day (presuming you’ve got time to put your lipstick on at all), and 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 to dinner wear” option.

Working Moms HeelsTeam your new jeans with a great pair of high heeled shoes – even stilettos! Select shoes that are high yet still comfortable. They should make a statement out of your legs and silhouette. With the platform shoes that are currently in vogue, you can get quite comfortable high heeled 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 one of 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 (whether you are dating or already taken)!

4. The underworld

Spanx has taken over the world – and for good reason (thank you Sara Blakely!). She has allowed us to show off our current gorgeous curvy shape by helping us appear slightly tighter and more supported. 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 select.

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 night time 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 or the backroom.

So to recap, here are your daytime to nighttime essentials:

  • Wear color(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 determined what essentials you can embrace and include in your wardrobe, the rest will fall into place. It’s all about investing in some timeless, fabulous pieces that will make you look fabulous but that you are still comfortable wearing. A wardrobe revamp is not about changing who you are, but rather enhancing what you already have. It’s fun and easy to turn from daytime power player to nighttime diva.

About the Author:

As an Author, Dating Expert and Editor-in-Chief, Fiona Fine is growing a movement for women who want to live and love on their terms. She is the founder of the dating advice inbox magazine How To Put The Fun Back Into Dating and the inbox magazine Women Who Run It: Your Life-Your Love-Your Terms! where she helps women to create their best lives so that they can have the relationship, the job, the health, and yes, even the SEX of their dreams. It’s your life and your choice. Join the movement at HowToPutTheFunBackIntoDating.com and get a FREE copy of her new book B.I.T.C.H (Babe In Total Control of Herself).