The holiday season is a bonanza for business, with the media making darned sure that everyone feels a guilty responsibility: To buy gifts and to make ‘em good.
Face it: gift buying success is not an exact science. What’s more, when the female target of your gift purchases – whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a colleague from work – is a difficult “fit”, we can find ourselves roaming the aisles, either empty handed, or worse, with our hands full of gifts that are sure to go right to the back of the closet. Or back to the store.
Here are some thoughts to guide you on your girl-oriented gift-giving adventures.
(1) It’s winter. Think cozy.
You don’t have to be headed for a ski resort to appreciate the warmth that’s expressed by seasonal dressing. In the winter months, everybody loves an extra layer, and outerwear is a risk-free choice; whether it’s a casual sweatshirt or a camel’s wool coat, it doesn’t have to match any particular outfit. For a low-budget option, remember: winter scarves, hats and gloves are a colorful, girl-friendly gift, and a classic expression of seasonal affection.
Women’s Loose Fitting, Raglan Style Shirt – Perfect ‘Basic’ for your Wardrobe
(2) Basics rock!
Did you know that the girl who has everything has something in common with the fussiest recipient on your list? It’s true: both have limited bandwidth for appreciating your creative shopping efforts. So why fight it? A sure-fire way to please both these categories is to concentrate on blue-chip, tried-and-true basics. Complement the wardrobe these women already have by choosing high-quality tops, bottoms and layering pieces in easy-to-match colors.
(3) You can never own too much…
…jewelry. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but if the real stuff is out of your price range, try browsing your local department store racks for fun – and fake – pieces that can liven up any look.
Kosher Casual’s Little Black Dress
(4) Dare to buy a dress
Yes, it can be done. Keep your eyes out for classic styles that are not too fussy in the details, yet say “holiday” all the way to the hem. For example, imagine an unstructured dress in a solid-color… that’s the kind of foolproof, one-size-fits-all gift dress that is sure to be appreciated, because it can be dressed up and accessorized, creating a starting point for a personal fashion statement.
(5) And if you despair…
Don’t. Gift certificates may sound like a cop-out, but allowing the girl on your gift list to do her own shopping might be the greatest gift of all!
Modest dressing looks good on every body type, but it has some distinct advantage for those of us with fuller figures. This is not because we want to cover up and “hide” – heaven forbid. Rather, modest cuts give us the freedom we need to make a beautiful fashion statement that embraces our size… and our lifestyle.
Tight Doesn’t Make Right
Plus-size women have natural presence, and the right skirt choices can help them make the most of it. While it’s certainly true that “real women have curves”, it’s also true that when women’s curves are the focus of attention, modesty tends to go out the window. In other words, if your mid-section is encased in tight, slinky material, it doesn’t matter if your elbows and knees are well covered – the total effect is eye-catching, and not in a good way.
Let’s look at some of the fashion secrets that allow plus-sized women to choose a skirt that shows them off to their fullest advantage.
Flowing and Fashionable Skirts
Maxi, midi or to-the-knee, every skirt length can compliment the more generous figure.
Skirts that go to the ankle or even the floor are not just for formal wear. Long skirts can add elegance to everyday dressing, creating a line that draws attention away from the hips and tummy. Ramp up this “camouflage” effect by choosing a skirt with flowing detail in the lower leg area – or dramatic pleats that begin at the knee.
Mid-length flared skirts can also create an elegant line. A generous cut that includes lots of extra material creates a flowing, attractive drape that moves with you. Alternatively, you can look for a “tiered” skirt that offers a wider silhouette, while providing visual interest all the way down.
Classic, to-the-knee skirts come in a variety of styles that can work for plus-size women. Whether you’re looking for a stretchy pencil-skirt, or a more structured design, your skirt should make you feel confident about the leg you choose to show. Don’t forget to “test drive” your choice by sitting down – even in front of a mirror – and verifying the knee-coverage before you make your purchase!
Waist Not Want Not?
Women of generous proportions tend to pair their skirts with tops designed to de-emphasize the waist, by hiding it altogether. But remember: a waist is a terrible thing to mind! So keep an open mind while shopping for your next skirt, and consider waist-conscious designs that dare to define your shape. Who knows – you may decide to tuck in that tee shirt after all!
Whatever your personal style, creating a polished, put-together look is more than a matter of wearing the garments that you love. In fact, no matter how keen your fashion sense, individual clothing pieces can only take you so far. Wearing modest clothing basics does not need to be boring. For the finishing touch, remember: it’s the little things that help you make a fashion statement from head to toe.
To transform your clothes into outfits that work, save room in your closet for these top ten accessorizing essentials:
- Jewelry: Understated Jewelry: Just because a necklace, bracelet or set of earrings is subtle doesn’t mean it can’t have a major impact. Complete any look – and show you care – by choosing earrings that can be seen beyond your hairline. Choose a necklace that harmonizes with the collar or neckline of your top. A delicate bracelet or two adds a feminine touch that complements any outfit, and is appropriate for work or leisure activities. Signature Jewelry: Dressing modestly doesn’t mean fading into the wallpaper. Invest in a few bold pieces that express the strong woman you are. Whether you go bright, colorful, or “chunky” in your choice, signature jewelry adds pizzazz to your everyday wardrobe, and provides that extra measure of glamour to special occasions.
- Scarves: Take a look at your basic wardrobe. What are your favorite color schemes? What are some favorite items that work together – or don’t? A few scarves or shawls with “bridging” colors can turn isolated tops and bottoms into beautifully coordinated outfits, and increase your fashion flexibility.
- Spring Flats: Fashion polish starts from the ground up, and colorful flats are a great way to get your look off and running. Great under pants or skirts, basic flats help you move smoothly from casual occasions to more formal events, without missing a beat.
- Black Heels: These are the shoes that can lend an air of authority to your work outfits, and add fashionable propriety to the dresses you reach for on special occasions. You may have to invest some time shopping for the perfect black heels that are both beautiful and comfortable, but once you find them, they’re a joy forever.
- Strappy Sandals: For that special party or event, you don’t have to go high in the heel. Whether neutral or “out there” in color, strappy sandals put sophisticated elegance on your feet.
Just add sunglasses and a bag to accessorize any outfit
- Sunglasses: Obviously, sunglasses are great for hiding tired eyes and shielding you from the sun’s glare. But psst! Their real beauty is how, by just sliding them on, sunglasses make you feel like a star.
- Leather Handbag: A well-made, roomy purse with a strap and plenty of pockets is a must for any woman on the go. Choose something solid, functional and not too flashy – after all, how many of us want to transfer our everyday essentials from bag to bag depending on what we wear?
- Clutch Handbag: An accessory that changes the entire atmosphere of an outfit, the evening clutch is an elegant, easy way to transition between a look that says “getting through the day” and one that says “going out for the evening”.
- Weekend Tote: You take care in the way you dress. Why ruin the look by tossing your weekend clothing into something that’s less than beautiful? Doubling as an extra-roomy purse for your “off” hours, the weekend tote is one piece in which you can go to town, and choose splashy colors or materials that express your sense of fun.
- Fashion Watch: Now that so many of us are carrying cellphones and other devices, the humble wrist watch has emerged as a major fashion statement. Use an eye-catching wrist watch to offset bracelets and bangles. The watch puts a little business into your fashion pleasure, while getting you where you have to go – on time and in style.
Whether heading out to the store, jogging through neighborhood, or striding into an important business meeting, women who choose a modest lifestyle have got it covered. And more and more, modest, yet fashion-conscious women are choosing leggings to complete outfits that are characterized by just the right balance between “coverage” and “cool.”
Long Black Leggings
Leggings offer comfort, confidence and an amazing variety of modest fashion options. Under a skirt, tunic or dress, leggings of different lengths are a smooth, breathable layer that provides a snug sense of support – without the struggle or “snag” of traditional tights or pantyhose. At the same time, leggings bridge the gap between those body contours we want to see, and those we think should be kept under wraps.
Adding leggings to your wardrobe is a great way to bridge the seasons in style. Paired with boots or funky socks, leggings provide colorful layering options that allow you to extend the usefulness of a summer outfit into the fall. When spring rolls around, just ditch the socks for a pair of sandals, throw a kicky scarf around your neck, and you’re in business.
Leggings are also a natural choice for modest exercise clothing. They give you the easy-going mobility you need to stay covered – and forget about how you look – while you concentrate on reaching your personal best. Leggings keep you feeling strong, too; an athletic, sporty silhouette can be a great motivator – whatever your workout routine.
Perhaps the best thing about leggings is the variety of modest fashion choices you can make. Coordinated with the color of your top, it’s easy to use leggings to create a sleek, top-to-bottom look that de-emphasizes your legs and draws attention to your dazzling smile. But modest clothing doesn’t equal dressing demure – with the huge variety of colors and patterns out there, leggings also stand front and center, offering a playful, yet modest fashion statement.
We all have them. Those casual tops and bottoms that screamed “buy me” in the store, but – once purchased – never seem to make their way out of the closet. Dressing in layers is a great way to re-think your personal clothing inventory and make the most of what you have.
In addition to its value for rescuing under-used articles of clothing, layering is a great fashion strategy, allowing you to add interest, a dash of color, and create an entirely new look that is totally “you”.
Sleevies® 3/4 Sleeve Extensions
From the overly-generous scoop of a low-necked tee, to the skirt that rides up, to the clingy materials that highlight those love handles, there are lots of reasons that some clothes just can’t make it on their own. Rather than throwing out or donating, experiment with layered dressing strategies that accentuate each garment’s best, most attractive characteristic.
Let’s say you bought a shirt because the color goes perfectly with a hard-to-match skirt. If the shirt rides up, don’t give up! Save the situation by layering on a contrasting vest, or adding an underlayer. Many women swear by the “hippies” – a flexible layering solution that bridges the gap like a wide belt, providing coverage without adding bulk.
Layers can also come to the rescue when trying to accommodate our changing bodies. As the years go by, women who were once happy to step out in short sleeves may find that a little more coverage makes them feel more confident. Again, there’s no need for a new wardrobe. Layer your favorite tops over a sleek shell underlayer – or add “sleevie” extensions – to give your old garments a new lease on life. Along with underlayer shells (short-sleeved, long-sleeved and cropped), sleevies and hippies, other garments that can widen your layering options include:
- The cropped top or half tee– a midriff-exposing layer, meant to be worn under a longer shirt. Half tees can be found in a variety of decorative necklines that add interest to any outfit.
- Tee-necks – sometimes referred to as a “dickie”, these garments provide coverage under shirts that expose too much of the chest.
- The pencil skirt – adds length to a tunic dress or a too-short skirt. Available in almost every color, pencil skirts complement an outfit, without making too obvious a statement.
The Fashion Advantage
Layering is a great way to re-work what’s in your closet, but remember – layering is also a creative and fashionable way to dress! Choose a color scheme, and experiment with garments that you never wore together before. Shuffle up the shapes, so that each individual article of clothing can be seen. When layering, choose just one particularly interesting item to highlight – a cropped jacket, or a fabulous scarf – rather than having lots of loud layers competing for attention.
But most of all, have fun! Dressing in layers is an individual statement. So forget the rules, and enjoy building a do-it-yourself look of your very own.
Shopping for modest clothing with a buddy isn’t just fun—it could save your wardrobe. You could be one layering shirt or modest accessory away from total fashion disaster, but not if your trusty shopping buddy is there with you.
Most of us know that it’s helpful to have a friend when we hit the mall. For example, I’m a hemming-and-hawing shopper, so I need my sister with me to give me the push to actually buy something. And a good SB (Shopping Buddy)—will always answer honestly when you ask, “Does this look good on me?”
But shopping for modest clothing is extra tricky. Often, we modest dressers are creating outfits of our own design. We see an amazing sleeveless dress, just perfect for [insert name of occasion, or just day of the week, here] and we decide to “modest-ize it” by pairing it with a layering shirt underneath. Or, hmmm….would it look better with a cute cardigan on top? SB to the rescue. And because that sleeveless dress was meant to be, well, sleeveless, we’re never quite sure if the colors coordinate, if we’re “pulling off” the look. But your SB—she’ll tell you if you’re rockin’ it…or not.
Long Tank Top
Then there’s the adorable V-neck sweater with a plunging neckline. Would the black tank top look better underneath? Or the white tank top? Your SB can help you decide.
There are more and more websites out there that cater to the modest dresser. You can buy an adorable sweater without a plunging neckline. Or an amazing dress with sleeves. But we don’t want to confine ourselves to only “modest clothing” stores, wonderful as they are. We want the freedom to buy clothing from any store in the world and turn it into something we can wear, modestly and confidently.
So we stock up on bolero jackets, tank tops, cardigans and layering shirts of all shapes and sizes, to create our own “modestly modern” wardrobe. A good SB helps you find those perfect layering pieces, or a hey-I-never-would-have-thought-of-that-but-it-looks-amazing outfit.
Saving your wardrobe, one tank top at a time.
What about you? Are you a go-it-alone shopper? Or do you believe, like I do, that two shopping heads are better than one?