How to Achieve 'Understated Elegance' in 3 Simple Steps

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Trends are constantly evolving and fashions come and go. What is considered ‘in’ one season can most certainly be ‘out’ the next. One style, however, that never goes out of date and that seems to transcend all others is that of understated elegance. This is a tricky style to master however. We can recognize it when we see it but it can be very difficult to know how to create it ourselves. If you're looking to inject a little more elegance into your wardrobe, then follow our three simple tips on how to do just that.

Your Wardrobe

When trying to create any look, the best place to start is always with your wardrobe. Clothes that are elegant are generally the simple, classic and well-fitted items in your wardrobe. This makes creating elegant outfits reasonably easy to put together as classic and simple items are very good for mixing and matching. Therefore, you are going to want to be rummaging through your wardrobe for items like fitted blazers, of which royal, navy blue is a very chic and smart color for a blazer, as is cream, which unfortunately is a little less practical, so better left for special occasions.

Deck shoes and ballet pumps look fantastic with nautical stripes and fitted khaki trousers or pipe leg jeans. These types of items work well for elegant, smart yet understated day outfits. When it comes to creating elegant evening outfits then you want to be thinking about flowing, soft and romantic lines and materials. Floaty chiffon tops with spaghetti straps work really well with trousers or jeans paired with delicate heels. Wide-legged trousers are a really good look for the evening and work well in a monochromeatic style with blocked, matching colors on top. A-line dresses are very simple yet elegant and look extremely feminine with soft cardigans and flat pumps.

So look for items such as these in your wardrobe as your staple elegant pieces and start to add your accessories from there.

Accessories

It has never been easier to find accessories for all occasions these days. As jewelry and accessories come in all shapes and sizes, it is now very affordable and easy to change and mix up our style on a regular basis. That is certainly true when it comes to creating a more elegant twist to your outfit. Look for jewelers such as Roma designer jewelry for some inspiration on elegant jewelry options. From pearl and diamond earrings, all the way through to elegant silver bracelets, pendant necklaces and the type of jewelry that would really set off your outfit.

Final Touches

No outfit is complete without a little grooming of the hair and a little preening of the face. The key of elegant hair and makeup is ‘less is more’ so keeping make-up natural and hair neat and tidy is a good place to start. Go for a matte, flawless foundation, pop a subtle blush of  color to your cheeks, focus on neat and well defined eyebrows, a slick of mascara and finish off with a dash of shiny, nude lip gloss. And there you are, elegant, classy and ready to  go.

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4 Must-have Textures this Season

A few weeks ago I wandered into The Tough Boot & Co in Atlanta. This is the coolest place featuring a very curated selection of choice denim, leather and overall badassery menswear. When their style tips showed up in my inbox, I couldn't agree more and just had to share it with you. The Tough Boot & Co says:

Fall/Winter is the best time to experiment with textures and layers. Garments with heavier textures will add depth to your look. Here, we put together a condensed version of what men are starting to wear this Fall/Winter 2016 season.
-Tweed
Tweed is a woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is usually woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. 
There is a world of textures when it comes to Tweed. 
-Herringbone
-Plaid
-Donegal
Color effects in the yarn may be obtained by mixing dyed wool before it is spun.

-Flannel
Flannel is a soft, fuzzy woolen fabric, with a napped surface. The fabric comes in different weights and it is perfect for winter shirts to thick blazers.

-Corduroy
Are we back in the seventies?? The renaissance of corduroy has been a difficult one but it is definitely an interesting texture to add to one’s outfit to add warmth and depth. Use your corduroy wisely as too much of this fabric will make you look like my grandpa.

-Knits
Knitted ties and sweaters are definitely a great way to add texture to your look. Silk knit ties are a must have for almost any season of the year, while fisherman or cable sweaters are perfect for a crisp fall or winter weekend. Find sweaters with a slim fit so you can use them as a mid layer with out looking bulky or fluffy.

-Waxed Canvas
Waxed Canvas is a cotton sturdy fabric that has been treated with a protective wax coating to make it water resistant. Waxed Canvas is usually rigid and it is always used as a shell or outer layer. It is a great option to keep your layers dry and add a great deal of masculinity to your look.

The textures and fabrics mentioned above can actually be layered with each other and with basic denim to create an interesting warm look. Keep your colors neutral and balanced with your textures and fabrics. You can add splashes of color with your accessories like belts, scarves, and even shoes or boots.

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8 of the Best Winter Fashion Tips

fashion tips for winter fashionado

by guest author: Alex

The nights are colder and the days are getting darker, which can only mean one thing; winter is here. Some people love winter, but normal people much prefer the warmer days. Dressing for warmer days is easier too; you can get away with throwing just about anything on and look great. Winter is a different story. You need to stay warm and comfortable while looking chic. To help you out, here are 8 of the best winter fashion tips:

1. Make Sure Your Outfits are Balanced Out

As you’ll want to stay warm during winter, it’s easy to end up being drowned by different fabrics. If you ensure your outfits are balanced out, you’ll look much better. You can balance your outfits out by making sure you wear something tighter on the bottom if you’re going baggier on the top, and vice versa.

2. Learn How to Layer Up

Layering is one of the most useful winter fashion tips you can use. Knowing how to layer will instantly make your outfits more interesting. You can then add layers or take them away depending on how cold the weather actually is.

3. Include a Pop of Colour

The weather doesn’t mean you should stop wearing colour completely. Why stick to blacks and greys and make life seem duller than it actually is? Include a pop of color and you’ll feel much better about the cold weather! Even just wearing a brightly coloured bag could make your outfit stand out.

4. Use Lots of Texture to add Interest

One of my favourite things about winter is wearing lots of texture. Texture helps to add depth to outfits and make them look so much more interesting. I love to wear leather, faux fur, and other wintery textures to amp up my looks. This sort of look can be created with Irish clothing too.

5. Always Accessorize

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should forget to accessorize. You can accessorize using scarves, hats, gloves, and even statement rings/necklaces.

6. Try to Show off Your Shape

Something I always notice about people during winter, is that they usually disguise their shape with their clothes. This can lead some people to look dowdy or frumpy, which isn’t ever a good look! Try to show off your shape by using a belt outside of your jacket, or on the next layer of your outfit. Looking hourglass is always a good thing!

7. Experiment With Scarves

Experiment with different scarves of patterns, lengths, and thickness to make a statement. You can tie them lots of different ways too, so you can look different each and every time you wear one!

8. Let Your Boots Do the Talking

I love wearing statement boots. Pick a pair you love and then let them do the talking with your outfits. Over the knee boots are set to be huge again this year!

Use these tips this winter and you’ll love the way your outfits look. Leave any tips of your own below!

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When Fashion & Forecast Collide: How to Be Hot in Extreme Weather

Fashion is an all-weather event — just ask anyone who attends NYFW in February. Yet so many fashionistas forgo their usual flair when the weather gets rough. Below is our exclusive styling guide to get you looking great when the temps are hot or cold:

So Hot in Here

While it seems like every girl and her mother loves a good maxi dress these days, anyone who lives in humidity know that a maxi traps the heat and can create a seriously swampy and uncomfortable situation. So unless they’re in a super breathable or sheer fabric, maxi’s are not the way to go for keeping cool in the summer months. Calf-length skirts and dresses are hip and retro and a great alternative to maxi’s with just as much coverage. Whether you’re headed to the boardwalk or a summer wedding, this dress length is on trend and easy to dress up or down.

A Word About Summer Feet

Ditch the flip-flops, please! They are unbelievably unflattering and horrible for your feet. The most universally flattering sandals have one thing in common: an ankle strap. First of all, any shoe with an ankle strap is a thousand times easier to walk in. Look for a cute little sandal with an ankle strap that hits at the most narrow part of your ankle. Even a centimeter below that, and your ankles will look wider; but if you find a strap that hits right at the narrowest point, your ankles will look narrow and you'll instantly look taller, leaner and more proportionate. Always check yourself in a full-length mirror when trying on shoes. They really do change your whole look, including your posture.

Cold Weather Combat

Nothing makes a girl more cranky than freezing cold feet, right? That’s why rubber boots are your best friend in a cold and slushy city. Fortunately, rubber boots have come a long way in the style department over the last few years. What used to be footwear that you only wore to shovel snow in are now a fantastic and mind-bogglingly practical way to make a fashion statement. Get them in polka dots or houndshooth if you really need to break out of that cold weather rut. Add leggings and a sweater dress, and you’re rocking the "NYC model on her day off" uniform.

When it comes to outerwear, you should always have a hood. At least one water-resistant outer layer with a hood is mandatory for any well-prepared wardrobe. And remember, if you really want to be warm, the longer the jacket the warmer the wearer. Shorter, cropped or puffer jackets give you shape but long jackets (calf length or longer) are what will really keep you warm. Get creative belting your longer jacket with a unique thrifted scarf to add interest and keep your figure from getting lost.

Accessorize, Ladies

Gloves, a beanie, and a scarf are way better to have and not need than to freeze your little fashionista fingers off trying to post a pic. And oh yeah; gloves that work on the touchscreen of your iPad or smartphone are totally a thing now. You can even get them online for super cheap.

When it comes to headwear, it’s all about the beanie. Make sure yours is on the looser side. A tight beanie looks dated and also really messes up your coif. Once you’re inside, you’re definitely taking the beanie off, right? So bring reinforcements: keep a tiny bottle of hairspray and an old toothbrush in your purse or desk. Spray the toothbrush and swipe away flyaways in the bathroom mirror.

Play with different shapes and proportions of scarves to stay warm and add a different element of proportion to your outfit. Pinterest is flooded with "How to Tie a Scarf" boards to get your brain going. Not all scarves are long and narrow. Pick up a few vintage ones in different shapes at your local thrift store. Practice with a few different shapes and sizes. Shoot to have three favorite scarves that you can wrap and/or tie in a few different ways. This gives you lots of quick options while getting dressed on a chilly morning.

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The Essential Guide to Strapping Strapless Winter Looks

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by guest blogger: Mollie O'grady

Winter is just around the corner, and unless you live in a tropical paradise, it's time to put away your beloved summer wardrobe and pull out the cozy sweaters and boots...or is it?

This winter, the fashion world is exploding with fun looks that weave summer's hottest trend, the strapless dress, long into the winter months.

Try these styles to jazz up any strapless dress.

Warm

Winter can be frigid. Although it's tempting to try on cute, semi-skimpy tube dresses that go perfectly with those new peep-toe heels, you don't want to be caught outside when a gust of wind makes you cringe longingly for the Caribbean. Keeping warm in a strapless dress can be tricky business, so make sure to bundle and layer as much as you can without looking like a bag lady.

Tasteful

When wearing a strapless dress in the winter, start your look from your feet up, when those tootsies are bundled it makes a huge difference. This season it's all about the boots. From rocking boots to stilettos; boots are back in a big way. Boots make a great accompaniment to strapless dresses, as you can throw tights or even hide poodle fleece socks underneath. As noted by Urban Outfitters, this season's cute looks include pairing socks with pumps or even peep-toes to stretch your summer wear as long as possible.

Next, it's time to work those legs! Take advantage of the boat loads of cute leggings lining this year's racks. You can mix and match colors with styles, lacing looks 

edgy against corduroy

, and sparkles match with just about anything. The same goes with tights, you can pair patterns for a fun bohemian look, or spice things up with fishnets over nude tights for warmth and style on a sassy night out.

Comfortable

Although sometimes you have to forgo a little comfort for the sake of style, if it's enough to give you frostbite, then you've gone too far. That's where layers come in. Layers are making waves across runways in a big way this year, and you can easily cash in on the cuteness. If you have fitted long sleeve shirts, or even baby doll t-shirts, you can layer them underneath your strapless dress and throw a cardigan over. Even the added warmth of a 

camisole paired

under your strapless dress can work out nicely.

Last but not least, a jacket or coat is the most important part of a winter ensemble. There are infinite numbers of cute coats out there just begging to be paired with your favorite strapless dress. A fitted trench coat can give a strapless dress an instant elegance, taking you from a cute daytime look to fancy and warm in an instant. Puffy down coats can be added for extra "spunk" and go-anywhere attitude, or a blazer can add a muted respect for business and play time. Top your look off with a cute hat and scarf and you'll be the bell of the winter ball!

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Creating The Perfect Outfit From an Assortment of Clothes at Home

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A noted romance author enters an event. She is wearing a striking outfit that instantly becomes the talk of the party. Perfectly accessorized, her ensemble is thought to be the work of some contemporary gonzo couturier. It must have cost thousands, the murmurs suggest.

In reality, the outfit started life as men's pajamas the author picked out of a junk pile at a thrift store. They weren't even part of the same pair of pajamas, but their colors matched nicely. The print was striking and unique. She donned a belt, some cool jewelry and went out in style. No one knew the thing cost her $2.

The key is to always choose quality, no matter where you find it. That's the essential ingredient whether you buy the clothing item at a second-hand store or at a 

Brooks Brothers

store. If you have a ready supply of high quality fashions, like 

1818 Suits from Brooks Brothers

, then any mix of them will always have the élan of fine fashion. Learning to combine the items is merely an added skill.

Here are a few basic rules:

1) Contrasts work nicely when done tastefully. This is what made our romance author's tout ensemble a slap-up success. She wore a pair of men's silk pajamas with some pricy jewelry and a designer belt. On another occasion, she donned an old motorcycle jacket, silk camisole and a pair of lace leggings with some steampunk boots. Her husband wore antique riding breeches, a high-collar shirt and a Brooks Brothers jacket.

2) Don't act your age. Dress against expectations. People tend to mentally file their impressions of people in line with their expectations. Those fabulous, expensive designer togs may well fade into the visual party hum if it's exactly what most people would expect you to wear. Too many other party attendees will be wearing something similar. There are only so many ways to cut a suit or dress. If you surprise people, they will remember.

3) Don't stick with one designer. Naturally, you'll want to trend toward the best clothing companies, like Brooks Brothers Clothing, but pairing that suit with a constrasting style of designer can be fun.

4) Wash, iron, press, launder and do whatever else must be done to make your clothes ready and presentable when you need them. If your clothes are ready and waiting, it's easier to toss-up great salad attire at the last minute. If you have to stop and launder one item, you'll find yourself with much less time to complete your designer look.

5) Last looks are essential. Be sure to gauge yourself honestly.

Once you're secure in your apparel, you'll wear it with confidence

. Our romance author didn't walk into her party feeling like she was wearing old pajamas. She dressed like she looked fantastic -- and she did.

Lastly, enjoy yourself. Bring with the experience a feeling of fun and you'll carry that emotion with you throughout the event you're attending. Your attitude is the best accessory of all.

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