Love Your Laundry Part IV: A Book Review

If you have been following this month’s blog/live video series, you will know that last week I promised a book review of Laundry Love by Patric Richardson. Why, you might ask, am I doing a book review??? The answer is quite simple; the author claims that we don’t need to be “bullied” by our clothing. He writes, “when it comes to cleaning, our clothes are bossy. Their tags bully us into time-sucking techniques and, before we know it, each article of clothing is trying to tell us what to do – and none of it is simple.” What, you might ask, is our clothing telling us to do? Well, “Dry clean only. Wash in cold water. Handwash. Dry Flat. Spotwash only. Blah, blah, blah.”

As a boutique owner with over 25 years of experience in the industry, my initial response to this was mixed. Elation came first. What, you mean I don’t have to wash everything on cold and hang it to dry – the thing I have ALWAYS done and was getting ready to counsel my customers to do? But, on the heels of that thought, came another – panic. What if I do this and ruin all my expensive clothing? And then another, even scarier option – what if I tell my customers to do this and THEY ruin all their expensive clothing.

My solution was to keep and open mind, and to do a good old fashioned book review for all of us to consider. Therefore, I am neither recommending nor discounting the ideas in this blog. I am openly curious about them.

Why should you trust Richardson, you ask? Well, he is a boutique owner, a former sales person at luxury stores, and ran Laundry Camp at the Mall of America for thousands of people. I tend to trust a store owner, so this role resonates with me. As boutique owners, we function as the middle man between the manufacturers and our customers. We get the benefit of product knowledge that comes directly from the source and that we then pass on. We want the best for our customers and know which manufactures we can trust and which ones we can’t – which ones just put hand wash in cold and hang to dry on every care tag regardless of the fabric used because they are covering their behinds and, frankly, because it is cheaper and easier to print one care tag for ALL of their clothing. Yes Fast Fashion brands, I am calling some of you out here. All of this is to say, I tend to trust Richardson here. He has all the right experience to make his methods worthy of consideration. But, hey, this is a book review, so you get to decide.

  1. Step one: sort your textiles (clothes, sheets, towels, etc) into 4-5 piles which include your whites and almost whites, your black clothes, your cool color clothes, your warm color clothes, and your athletic wear. According to Richardson, the rationale behind the warm and cool piles is, “if a microdye bleed occurs in the wash of either of these loads, no one will even notice” (20). Athletic wear needs to be washed separately because of its tendency to hold onto to body oil and to repel water. This particular load needs to be washed with a detergent that contains hydrogen peroxide to get out the body oil.
  2. Step two: Remove all silky items from the pile and put in a mesh bag. Richardson also recommends turning these inside out before putting them into the mesh bag. This same process can be used for wool items, but he recommends rolling them up tightly and then placing them in a mesh bag. Replace the items in the correct color pile.
  3. Step three: Stop using detergents with volatile organic compounds which he purports to be anything that comes in the gigantic bottles we can buy at the grocery store. These compounds can harm your lungs, organs and cause Cancer. Instead we should opt for, “soaps and detergents made with plant and mineral based ingredients, essential oils, and floral extracts. Look for words like, “nontoxic, biodegradeable, allergen free, bleach free, petroleum free, phosphate free, and phthalate free” (33). He also recommends to stop using Chlorine Bleach which actually yellows whites (who knew??). He suggests instead to wash whites with a tablespoon of chlorine free oxygen bleach.
  4. Step four: wash everything on warm in the express cycle. I found his explanation for this compelling. He writes, “even cold water detergents are designed to work in water that is 58 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit; manufactured define this as cold. Unfortunately, cold water in our homes is likely just 53 or so degrees. And that means our cold water setting isn’t warm enough to dissolve our detergents – which means they’re not activating and our clothes aren’t getting clean” (37). He goes on to explain that the express cycle on your washer only exposes your clothing to 8 minutes of warm water, long enough to activate the detergents and get your clothing clean but not long enough to harm your clothing. Additionally, make sure to set your washer on fast spin. This will mean that as much water as possible will have been spun out of your clothing, requiring less drying time.
  5. Step five: Hang to dry anything made with a woven fabric. Hang all sweaters or use a drying rack. Dry all “T-shirts, socks, underwear, sheets and towels” (47). His reasoning behind this suggestion is that, “most high quality textiles can endure fifty trips through the washer and dryer. That means if you machine wash and machine dry a favorite shirt once a week, you’ll have worn it out in a year. If, however, you skip the dryer and hang up this item to dry, you’ve just bought yourself at least seventy more trips through the washer – and more than another year of wear” (48). Richardson notes here that this statistic is taken from the National Council of Textile Organizations. He also contends that it is not necessary to lay all of your knits like sweaters to dry. Similarly to chemical detergents, dryer sheets and softeners are a no, no. They coat your clothing with silicone which keeps them from absorbing water, decreases the breathability, makes missed stains almost impossible to get out, and coats your dryer’s lint catcher.
Laundry heap on the white background. Hasselblad H4D XXXL

In comparison to what I am already doing, Richardson’s method changes some important things. First, I tend to wash my towels and sheets in separate loads. I was always taught to wash my sheets on hot to sanitize them and to wash my towels together because their rough texture would be abrasive to my other clothes. Richardson addresses the sheet issue when he writes, “When we wash our hands with soap and warm water, we know they’re clean. There’s no need to scald our hands to kill germs. The same holds true for our clothes” (40). He solves the abrasion issue with the mesh garment bags.

On a normal laundry day, I would have five loads – whites, darks, towels, cold water wash, and sheets. Using his method, I would also have five loads, but using the express wash will most definitely save time, and I was a little grossed out by the idea that I am not actually dissolving the detergent on all of my cold water wash items, which is about 70% of my laundry. I certainly like the idea of knowing my clothes are clean.

I already hang most of my clothes to dry, so all in all, I don’t think using this method will take more time. I am planning to try a couple of his drying suggestions like wool balls and bumpy dryer balls. He also suggests putting a few drops or essential oils on the dryer balls to add fragrance to your clothing in place of dryer sheets. As an avid essential oil user, I love this idea. He recommends peppermint and lavender.

Probably my biggest struggle is in removing stains. I am just not very good at it. I was, understandably, very curious about what Richardson had to say about this topic. In fact, he has a lot of say, but to summarize for the purpose of this blog, his basic stain removing method includes using rubbing alcohol and a cotton makeup pad to treat stains if you need to wear an item and don’t have time to wash it. You dab the makeup pad with the rubbing alcohol and then using a pressing and lifting motion, keep dabbing at the stain and switching to a new makeup pad until the stain is removed. His more advanced stain removal techniques include using a mixture of water and vinegar to cut oil and a laundry brush and bar laundry soap to gently scrub the stained area. I’ll be sharing his complete list of stain removal product recommendations in tonight’s Wednesday Wardrobing Live Video presentation,as well as some of his pro tips that caught my attention. You can watch that here on Facebook at 6 p.m. MST.

Love Your Laundry Part II: Fabric Primer

One of the most frustrating parts about shopping is understanding fabrics and how to care for them. In our new world of fast fashion, a lot of manufacturers of cheaper clothing automatically recommend to hand wash and hang to dry their garments. This is to prevent them from being held accountable when the fabrics perform poorly in a washing machine. In my experience, the only time you should have to hand wash a garment is if the fabric is cheap or it has embellishments like sequins, grommets, and embroidery. But, to safely NOT follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions, you need to understand fabrics. That is what this blog post will help you to do.

The following information was adapted from: This website will give you a comprehensive list of fabrics, but I am going to just focus on the the most common ones you will have to deal with when caring for clothing.

Cotton: This fabric is made from the cotton plant. According to the masterclass listed above, “Cotton is primarily composed of cellulose, an insoluble organic compound crucial to plant structure, and is a soft and fluffy material. The term cotton refers to the part of the cotton plant that grows in the boil, the encasing for the fluffy cotton fibers.” These fibers are then spun into a yarn and woven into fabric. The cotton fibers are uneven. In better cottons, the fibers are combed which removes the shorter fibers and makes the resulting fabric softer. Cotton can be machine washed and dried, but it will shrink so unless your garment tells you the fabric is pre-shrunk (washed and dried before production), you will need to take care to prevent shrinkage. I usually recommend hanging it to dry and then using a machine dryer for a 10 minute permanent press cycle to remove any stiffness in the fabric. Cotton is durable, soft, and breathable. It is always a great choice in clothing.

Georgette: This fabric can be made from silk or from Rayon, Viscose and Polyester. Obviously, the price of the Georgette will reflect which source fabric was used. Georgettes are often crinkled, sheer and have a non shiny finish. Care of georgette will depend on the source fabric. If silk was used, you will need to take greater care in laundering. Synthetic fabrics like Rayon, Viscose and Polyester can often be machine washed, but Rayon will shrink so you need to be aware of that possibility.

Jersey: This fabric is a soft, stretchy knit fabric that is made from cotton, cotton blends and synthetic fabrics. Sympli, as an example, uses Jersey that is made with polyester. The fabric can be light to medium weight. Jersey can pill and snag. For this reason, it is not recommended that you wash it with zippers, velcrow, items with grommets, etc, as these can catch and snag the fabric. Sympli recommends their jersey be washed in cold water in the machine and then hung to dry. Because jersey is wrinkle resistant, it will usually dry wrinkle free.

Linen: This fabric comes from the Flax plant. It is known to be strong and lightweight and breathable. It is often used in clothing for hot and humid places because it allows air to flow through and helps regulate the body temperature as a result. Linen should be washed in lukewarm or cold water and gently dried. It is important to use medium heat when drying your linen.

Modal: This is a, “semi-synthetic fabric made from beech tree pulp that is used primarily for clothing.” It is a form of Rayon but is stronger. You will often find Modal in fabric blends, and it is considered a high end fabric because it is soft and luxurious feeling. It is important to point out that Modal is more expensive than cotton or viscose.

Polyester: This fabric is man made and originates from petrochemicals, including coal and petroleum. It is durable and doesn’t shrink, making it very useful in clothing. It is often blended with other fabrics, as it can be used to strengthen more delicate fabrics. The big downside to polyester is that it is not breathable and can become smelly when it absorbs sweat. Polyester can be blended with other natural and more breathable fabrics to help with this. It also acts to stabilize fabrics that are prone to shrinking when it is used in blends.

Rayon: This fabric, like Viscose, is a semi-synthetic fabric that is made from wood pulp. It also requires chemicals which keep it from being considered a “natural” fiber. According to Who, What, Wear, “one of the most common types of rayon is viscose rayon, which has a lot in common with cotton. It’s breathable, moisture-absorbent, and a popular choice for casual and athletic wear. It also shows up in dresses, blouses, and outerwear. Secondary types of rayon include modal rayon (typically made from beech trees) and lyocell (seen in everything from denim to dress shirts).” This website also notes what we all have experienced in that Rayon is not durable and machine washing can cause it to shrink, loose its shape and bleed As a result, clothing with Rayon or Rayon blends will often require hand washing and line drying.

Satin: The word “satin” refers to a weave and not a fabric, just like twill. Satin is elastic, soft and silky with a beautiful drape.

Silk: Silk comes from the fiber produced by Silk Worms to make their nests and cocoons. It is known for its strength, sheen, and luxury. It is often used in formal attire.

Spandex: This fabric name is interchangeable with the words “Elastane” and “Lycra.” It is a synthetic fiber that is used to add stretch to clothing. It can also be blended with other fabrics for this same purpose.

Tweed: Tweed is usually made of wool and is woven into a stiff and durable fabric that is characterized by warmth. This fabric is usually used in jackets and slacks, particularly suits. It is typical for this fabric to be made with different colored strands that are woven to create different patterns.

Twill: The word “twill” refers a weave rather than a fabric. It is characterized by a diagonal pattern. They usually have a darker side and a lighter side. It is durable fabric that is not see through. Twill is typically used in denim and in chinos.

Velvet: This fabric is known for its soft and luxurious feeling. It is shiny and soft and is often used for dressy fabrics, especially those for holidays. Velvet can be made from Cotton, linen, wool, mohair, and synthetic fibers, but it was first made with silk.

Viscose: This fabric is part synthetic and part natural. It resembles silk because of the wood pulp that is used in its creation. This wood pulp gives it a very similar look and feel to silk. It is often used in clothing items that might have been made from silk like blouses and dresses, but it is much less expensive.

I hope this has helped to demystify fabrics for you to some degree. Understanding fabrics helps us to know how to care for them properly so they last a long time. It helps us choose fabrics based on the environment we will be in and the level of care we are willing to be subject to. It also helps set our expectations of how fabrics will perform. Additionally, when we comprehend the pros and cons of certain fabrics, we are able to understand the fabric blends that we often find and how those blends might perform in our day to day life as well as in the laundry.

Typically, less expensive clothing will be made of synthetic fabrics, semi-synthetic fabrics or fabric blends whereas more expensive clothing will have more natural fabrics or a greater quantity of the natural fabric in the blend. For example, if you have a Rayon/Cotton blend, the fabric will likely be more durable than a Rayon/Viscose blend.

Personally, I have a cold water dirty clothes basket and warm water dirty clothes basket. My only clothing that goes into the warm water basket is underwear, pajamas, yoga wear, denim jeans, sweatshirts and tee shirts. Everything else gets washed in cold on delicate and hung to dry. If the fabrics dry stiff or wrinkled, I put them in a permanent press cycle just to soften the fabric and release the wrinkles. I always put a 1/4 of vinegar into my washing machine. Not only does it clean the machine and act as a natural softener, it also helps set fabric dye so I get less fading of colors.

If you’d like more information on this topic, you can watch me live on Wednesday, May 10th at 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time for a live video on this topic. Watch that video here. If you miss the live video, it will be added to my YouTube channel as well.

Love Your Laundry Series: How To Identify Quality

With the popularization of fast fashion and our society embracing throw away mentality, I sometimes feel we have lost an understanding of the benefits of quality and why it really is worth the extra money to get it. I don’t know how you are, but before my husband purchase just about anything, we research the product and read reviews. We are big fans of consumer reports because we believe that while you don’t have to buy the most expensive thing on the market, you do get what you pay for.

My experience with all kinds of appliances, electronics, and clothing is that there is usually a reason why an item is more expensive. Whether it is longer battery life, better quality circuitry, the reputation of the manufacturer, or the actual features of a product, a good sales person should be able to explain to you why two items are different prices.

I think we all have a choice to make. Do we want to buy it cheaply and know that it will have a shorter life or do we want to spend more up front and expect, with care and attention, it will last a much longer time? The fast fashion world like H&M and Sheen peddle cheaply made clothing with cheap fabrics. The price tag is very affordable, but don’t expect it to wash and wear well or for a long time.

As the owner of a boutique that is focused on quality as well as an Outlet that is focused on budget and price, I have a lot of experience at both ends of the spectrum. I have shopped the same manufacturers that supply H&M, and I have shopped high end clothing companies. I believe quality if always worth the extra money, but I also recognize that the general shopper doesn’t always understand what makes a clothing item high quality.

The purpose of this month’s Wednesday Wardrobing Series, then, will be to explore this topic. I have named it Love Your Laundry because of the delight that comes when you wash something for the first time and are elated at how it performs instead of frustrated at the mis-shapen mess that comes out of your dryer.

So how do you spot quality in clothing? Here are my top tips:

  • Fabric matters: I spend a lot of time in last month’s Wednesday Wardrobing series talking about how when you are trying to dress your body type, you always want to choose heavier fabrics to wear over your trouble areas. This is because heavier fabrics will have a better drape, whereas lighter fabrics tend to cling. Additionally heavier fabrics are less likely to show cellulite.
  • Every fabric comes on a scale from the cheapest to the most expensive version of itself. Cotton, for example, can be light weight and not much better than Rayon or it can be beefy and weighty. The truth is, you can feel quality. Take a garment in your hand and rub the fabric. Is it soft or scatchy? Is it heavy or light? Does it resist wrinkles or does it wrinkle easily? Does it have stretch or is it stiff? Is it already showing signs of pilling just from being handled in the store? Are the sleeves too long indicating the fabric may be stretching out as it is hanging? Is the fabric see through? Has the manufacturer provided a lining or are you going to have to layer it? These are all questions that will help you identify classic areas that reveal poor quality vs. better quality fabrics.
  • Construction matters: Beware of puckering hems and linings. Items that are sewn quickly and without care will often have puckers where the seams meet. Examine all the seams. Similarly, hastily sewn linings will reveal similar problems. If you see lots of stray strings or even massive amounts of thread, it is a very good indication the item is poor quality.
  • Similarly, buttons that are half on and not secure; button holes that are too small; and zippers that are sewn in crooked are further indications of poorly constructed items.
  • If the garment is printed, look at how the print comes together at the seams. Does it make sense or is the stripe on the front two inches lower on the back? Matching fabrics up at the seams is always a sign of good quality.
  • Look at the pockets. Do they lay flat or stick out?
  • When you try the item on, do all the style details lay in the right place. For example, does the shoulder cut out show your bra strap?
  • Details Matter: If you are comparing apples to apples in the sense that two tops are made with a similar level of construction and fabric quality, what separates one price level from another are the details. Better quality brands take the time to pay attention to the small features that help a product sell.
  • Many manufactures are including shapers in their clothing, whether it is a mesh panel or a wide waist band with extra smoothing qualities, these additions are going to help the garment flatter your body better.
  • Consider also things like tabbed sleeves, reversible neck lines, and reversible prints, or multifunction pieces as all of these features will give you multiple ways to wear the item or an option that looks better on you.
  • Also, look for embellishments like extra layers, fringed hems, bra friendly straps, seaming details, embroidery, etc. Things like buttons can also be a good indicator of quality.
  • Does the clothing item have unusual buttons like wooden or brushed metal? I happen to love buttons and have seen how they can really add style to an item when they are unusual or of a higher quality material.

Hopefully, this list will help you to begin to notice small differences in clothing items. Believe me, small differences add up. And when how you look really matters, quality matters! It is worth your money to get the best quality you can afford. You will be happier with the item and it will last longer than its less expensive option.

You can watch me cover this topic live in my Wednesday Wardrobing Series in our VIP Facebook group. These videos air each Wednesday at 6ish.

Dressing Your Body Type Part III: Hourglass, Inverted Triangle and Rectangle

It’s time for Part III of my four part series on Dressing Your Body Type. In this blog, I will cover the Hourglass, Inverted Triangle and Rectangle shapes. Let’s dive in.

Hourglass Shape: Defined by delicate bones, a large bust, a small waist and curved hips with shapely legs

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Draw attention to your waist and emphasize your curves!

Ways to do this:

  1. Draw attention to your waist by using waist bands and belts. Your body type was made for cropped tops and mid rise pants.
  2. Soft and flowy fabrics are your friend, as they will show off your curves. Wrap styles are particularly flattering on you, whether it is a wrap skirt or dress.
  3. If you have a very large bust or a round and protruding rear, be careful not to cinch your waist too tight, as it will emphasize this.
  4. Oversized styles just hide all of your assets. Shoot for semi-fitted styles that either define your waist or hint at your waist.
  5. Choose medium sized handbags that hit at your waist.
  6. As this body type usually has fine bones, you should choose delicate jewelry and low profile shoes

Best styles to choose from: Anything semi-fitted will flatter your curves. Tailored jackets and short skirts will look lovely on your as will wrap styles, as already mentioned. Choose styles that can be belted to show off your waist. Wearing your blouse knotted and cropped with jeans will show your slim waist and hips. Avoid loose fitting and boxy styles.

Inverted Triangle: Defined by broad shoulders, a medium to large bust, a defined waist that is medium width, narrow hips, long legs.

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Your legs and hips are your best feature, so draw attention to this part of your body. You are broad shouldered, so you will want to balance this part of your body out with your smaller lower half. Draw attention away from your shoulders and upper body.

Ways to do this:

  1. Because of your pretty legs, skirts and short dresses will be a great choice for you. Because of your slim hips, you will look nice in straight or a-line styles. You will also look nice in slacks, jeans, and leggings.
  2. Wearing loose and non-tailored or semi-tailored tops will be your best bet to minimize your upper torso. Avoid structured shoulders or anything with shoulder pads, as it will add extra girth to your shoulders. For this same reason, avoid necklines that draw attention to your shoulders like boat necks.
  3. Styles that have loose sleeves like kimono, raglan, and dropped will give you extra room in the bust. V necks will optically slim your upper torso, the deeper the better.
  4. Minimize your upper body by using dark and neutral colors on top and play up your strengths by wearing color on the bottom.
  5. You will want to choose better quality, heavier fabrics for your top that have a good drape and do not cling.
  6. Choose low waisted styles and low slung belts that fall at your hip instead of your waist.
  7. Wear handbags so they sit at your slim hips. Avoid shoulder bags.

Best Styles To Choose From: Tie belts will be your friend because you can tie them at your hips instead of your waist. Any bottom that has a mid-rise instead of a regular rise will be more flattering on you. Flared skirts and dresses will help balance your shoulders. A loose fitting knit top tucked into a mid rise skirt would be very flattering. Wearing a scarf horizontally will help give the optical illusion of elongating your torso. Slimmed legged bottoms with loose fitting tops are also a great look for you. This body type can also do palazzo pants well when they are paired with a top that goes past the hips.

Straight/Rectangle: Defined by a “square” shape where the upper and lower torso are the same width, a medium sized bust, a wide rib cage, a thick waist, a flattened rear, and slender legs.

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Draw attention away from your rib cage and waist. Draw attention to your legs.

Ways to do this:

  1. Avoid skirts that add girth with style details like gathered or tiered. Instead choose sleek skirts in any style from short to long, tailored to a-line.
  2. Tailored slacks and mid rise bottoms will flatter you without bringing attention to your waist.
  3. Wear longer tops with slim bottoms to draw attention to your strengths. You can tuck in a top, but make sure you pair a jacket over the top to avoid drawing attention to your waist.
  4. A monochromatic (all one color) or keeping your jacket and pant the same color and adding a punch of color in the middle will be the most slimming.
  5. Tops should not be clingy. Choose flowy, medium to heavy weight fabrics that drape well.
  6. Use v necks to vertically slim your torso.
  7. This figure type is often short waisted so you will want to avoid cutting your body off at your waist or it will emphasize this. Make sure your demarcation of color or style happens below the waist.

Best Styles To Choose From: Non tailored shirt dress (buttons up the front with a collar). Longer jacket that fits loose over a short skirt. Loose shift style dress. Loose fitting safari jacket that hits mid to low hip with slim legged pants. Styles that have a dropped waist. Avoid empire waists. Tunic dresses.

Watch my live video on these three body types for examples of what to wear. You can watch here tonight at 6 p.m. MST. The first blog post in the series was called Dressing Your Body Type: The Fundamentals and the second was Dressing Your Body Type: Pear, Diamond and Round. You can see the videos for this series on my YouTube page here.

Dressing Your Body Type Part II: Pear, Diamond and Round

In The Fine Art of Dressing, by Margaux Tartarotti, the author uses a rather creative way to talk about dressing your body type by comparing the most common shapes to classic masters. For example, she calls the pear shaped figure a Modigliani because of the artist’s propensity toward drawing portraits of women with narrow shoulders and full hips, butt and thighs. I love her approach because it underscores how the prevailing view of beauty has changed over the centuries and continues to change. Just consider the modern trend of implants to create a larger, lifted and rounder buttocks. Having just come from Las Vegas, I can tell you that bodycon, short for body-confidence, is a true trend. Figure hugging and curve showing dresses were everywhere. Our different shapes and sizes are what makes us uniquely beautiful.

In this blog post, the second in my Dressing Your Body Type Series, I will cover the first thee of six body styles and talk about ways to work with that figure type for the most flattering looks. This is not about covering up what one might see as a deficit, but instead it is about balancing out your figure in the most advantageous way. If you missed Part I: The Fundamentals, take a moment to read that now. You can also watch my video on this topic on my YouTube page. Watch that here:

Pear Shaped: Defined by a small neck; narrow, sloped shoulders; a small bust; a defined waist; and full hips and thighs

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Draw attention to the upper part of your body with color and style. Add width to your shoulders with shoulder pads to even out the shoulder/hip ratio. Accent without cinching your waist. Draw attention away from your hips and thighs.

Ways to do this:

  1. Make sure your bottoms do not fit too close to your hips and thighs and choose pencil skirts that get slimmer toward your calves to avoid looking like a box. Choose either firm, lined and tailored fabrics or soft and flowy fabrics with a nice drape, avoiding lightweight or inexpensive fabrics.
  2. Wear shoulder pads and choose tailored tops that use darts to point toward a waist without clinging to it. Avoid cinching the waist because it will only emphasize your bottom curves. Have your tops hit below the hip line if you are tall and at or above the hip bone if you are shorter.
  3. Choose darker, neutral colors for your bottom.
  4. Choose wider necklines like boatnecks and Cowel necklines that can be worn over the shoulder to give the illusion of broader shoulders and draw attention away from sloping shoulders. Avoid drop shoulders.
  5. Avoid large tote handbags or crossbody bags that hang right at the widest part of your body. Choose instead a shoulder bag that sits higher up on your frame.
  6. Use accessories and colors that will draw the eye to your slender neck and face.

Best styles to choose from: empire waist dresses and tops; 3/4 length jackets or tops with a short, tapered skirt; tops that hit at your hipbone; cinched waist under a 3/4 or long vest.

Here are some other examples of good styles from our Boho Chic Collection. Notice the empire waist top on the right with the full bodice to allow room for a fuller hip paired up with a narrow bottom. In the middle is a good example of a 3/4 length cardigan. A good idea for this look would be to belt the tee underneath to “hint” at your waist without cinching it. On the left is a good example of a longer, maxi style jacket in a draped fabric with a top that falls at the low hip, paired up with a narrow bottom.

Diamond Shape: Defined by slim shoulders, small bust, thick waist, full hips and thighs

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Focus attention on your torso, above your waist. Balance your shoulder and hip ratio. Draw attention away from your lower body.

Key Action Steps:

  1. Elastic waists are your friend. Choose tapered cuts that narrow toward your lower leg to avoid a boxy look. Avoid maxi lengths. Avoid wide bottoms like palazzo pants.
  2. Wear shoulder pads. Choose tops that are fitted over your bust but then flare out starting at the middle of your rib cage, giving you the extra room you need for your waist.
  3. Jacket hemlines should hit below the broadest part of your hips. Be sure they don’t pull across this area
  4. Wear dark or neutral bottoms
  5. Accent your slim torso with colors that flatter your skin tone. If you aren’t sure what are your best colors, watch my video series on Determining Your Best Color Palate
  6. Avoid stiff fabrics and opt for softer fabrics with a nice drape and also avoid bottom details that add girth like pockets that stand out
  7. Choose neckline details like boatnecks and Cowl necks to balance your shoulders and your hips
  8. Avoid handbags that sit at your hips and choose shoulder bags instead.

Best styles to choose from: Empire waist dresses; longer tops with narrow bottoms; trapezoid dresses; long, layered vests; and jackets with narrow bottoms.

Here are some good styles from our Sympli Spring 2023 Collection. On the left, our Pleat Hem Tank Dress is a great example of a dress that hints at a waist without cinching and also narrows at the bottom. The look in the middle is a longer, tunic length top that falls well below the widest part of a Diamond Shaped body with narrow but flowy pants. On the right, we have again chosen a tunic length top and a legging to accentuate narrow legs. We also love the fabric in our Sympli line, as it is the perfect weighted travel knit that drapes rather than clings. We also like these small handbags from HOBO for this body type as well.

Round Shape: Defined by a fuller neck, larger bust, wide rib cage, rounded back, larger tummy, and narrow hips leading into slender legs.

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Use Part I: The Fundamentals to make your neck look slimmer and longer. Draw attention away from your round middle. Bring balance to your upper and lower torso. Draw attention to your slender legs.

Key Action Steps:

  1. Focus on straight skirts as opposed to full skirts to draw attention to your lower hips and legs, and choose pants that have a straight or narrow leg.
  2. Choose fabrics that drape rather than those that are stiff or clingy. Avoid fitted tops. Your jackets should be long enough to cover your round middle and stop just at the top of where your hips and legs narrow.
  3. Choose shapes like dolman, raglan, and kimono sleeves that will give you extra room for your arms and bust. Over blouses are a great choice too.
  4. Draw attention to your lower body with color and prints and downplay your upper body with neutrals and darker colors.
  5. Larger busted women should wear larger prints to help balance your figure. If you want to wear a brighter color for your top, just downplay it with a neutral jacket.
  6. Use the optical illusion of the diagonal line that we discussed in Part I to visually slim and elongate your neckline
  7. Choose a handbag that hangs at your lower hip. Avoid shoulder bags and backpacks that will add extra girth to your torso
  8. No belts for this figure type and make sure accessories create a vertical and not horizontal line (long scarves and necklaces). Don’t let scarves or necklaces hit right at the fullest part of your bust.

Best Styles To Choose From: Tunics and narrow skirts, especially those that show off your legs; longer tops with Bermuda shorts or slim cropped pants; flowy jackets over monochromatic outfits.

Below are some good styles from our Spring 2023 Sympli Collection. On the left, is a great longer jacket paired over a tunic length, sleeveless top. The monochromatic tops help minimize the upper torso and the pants narrow at the bottom to emphasize a slender leg. In the middle, the flowy jacket is paired over a tunic length top and matched to a narrow bottom to accentuate the legs. On the right, the eye is drawn to the lighter colored bottom and the cropped length that shows off the legs while the longer jacket and top draw attention away from the upper torso.

To join me in a live discussion of this topic with examples from my store of styles that work with each body type, watch my Wednesday Wardrobing Live Video tonight at 6 p.m. You will need to ask to join our VIP Facebook Group to watch live so do it a little before the video start time. If that time doesn’t work for you, you can catch the video on my YouTube Page.

Happy Dressing Your Body Type!!

Dressing Your Body Type Part One: The Fundamentals

April came in with a bang here in Wyoming. We had a record breaking snow storm to top off our record breaking winter!! With 27 inches of snow on the ground and piled up in the middle of the streets, it is hard to think about Spring and Summer, but I know in just a few days the sun will be shining again.

Dressing your body type is important year round, but I think we give it more credence in the summer months when more of our bodies are exposed. Winter allows us to hide, after all, sweaters are just blankets you wear to work. But when the summer months come, hiding in our clothing is not an option. So, for this month’s Wednesday Wardrobing Videos and Blog Posts, I am going to do a four part Dressing Your Body Type series. You can watch my live videos in our Facebook VIP Group at 6 p.m. MST. I will post this blog first, so it will give you a chance to read the blog and then watch the video. If you miss the live video, you can also check it out on my YouTube page.

Part I: April 5th at 6 p.m.: The Fundamentals

Part II: April 12th at 6 p.m.: Pear, Diamond and Round

Part III: April 19th at 6 p.m.: Hourglass, Inverted Triangle, and Straight/Rectangle

Part IV: April 26th at 6 p.m.: Dealing With Problem Areas

Tonight, we will be talking about the fundamentals of color value, optical illusions and fabrics and how they relate to making the most slimming clothing choices.

The first of these is Color Value. If you watched my March Wednesday Wardrobing Series on Determining Your Color Palate or followed my blog posts, you will know that value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color When you are considering value in determining your best color palate, you consider your skin tone, hair tone and eye color. Value can be simplified into light and dark or looked at more completely as on a scale from one to five, with one being the lightest and five being the darkest. When you are considering value in clothing, you are focused on the lightness or darkness of a clothing item. This is important because lighter values will draw your attention while darker values will recede. Thus, when you are dressing your body, you want to put lighter color values on parts you want to draw attention to and darker color values on parts you want to draw less attention to.

Second, we need to consider Visual Illusions.

Vertical Lines: As you have probably been told, vertical lines tend to lengthen. They are best for a shorter figure or to slim a wider figure. This truth has been misunderstood by many to lead them to always avoid horizontal stripes. That is a shame because regularly spaced horizontal lines that are narrow also have a slimming effect. What you want to avoid are large, thick horizontal stripes.

Diagonal Lines. The steeper a diagonal line is, the more slimming it will be. A deep v neckline, then, will be more slimming than a shallow v neck. Also, a deeper curved crew neck will be more slimming than a shallow curve.

Horizontal Divisions. You have probably heard that monochromatic outfits (all the same color) are the most slimming for any body type. When you start combining colors, there are few concepts to consider. Uneven horizontal divisions are more slimming than a horizontal division in the middle. Thus, it is more slimming to divide your body with an empire waist or wear a long jacket over a mini skirt,than it is to divide your body at the waist, placing one color on top and one on the bottom.

Background Colors: If you place a light white dot on a black circle and compare it to a black dot on a white circle, you will notice that the darker dot will recede and look smaller than the white dot. This is important when considering prints. A dark background with a light print will draw more attention and seem bigger than a light background with a dark print.

Third, we need to consider Fabric Textures.

Fabric is everything when you are looking for a flattering fit. The weight and drape of the fabric is what will make or break the shape of a garment on your body. Light fabrics tend to show your figure flaws, while heavy fabrics do a better job of draping instead of clinging. Also important is the stiffness of a fabric. Softer fabrics will lay against the body while stiffer fabrics will stand out from the body. The stiffer fabrics tend to add extra visual weight. Some things to consider in choosing fabrics:

  1. You get what you pay for. Better quality fabrics hold their shape longer.
  2. When you layer two different fabrics with two different weights, put the heavier fabric on top
  3. You can jazz up a monochromatic outfit by combining textures: smooth and rough, matte and shiny
  4. Shiny fabrics will add weight
  5. Loose looks work best with a draped fabric while tailored styles work better with thicker fabric
  6. If going for an oversized trend, choose soft and drapy fabrics over heavy fabrics.
  7. Accentuate your curves and hide your budges.

These concepts will build the foundation of the rest of our discussions about dressing your body type! See you next Wednesday at 6 p.m. MST.

Choosing The Right Makeup For Your Season

It is just as important to wearing the right colors on your face as it is on your body. You can do everything right with your outfit but then undermine all the benefits of wearing the right colors by choosing the wrong makeup. If you missed my last two live videos or blog posts, I broke up determining your color palate and color season into two sections. The first blog post focused on determining if you are warm or cool and the second on determining which season you. If you haven’t read those blog posts or watched those videos, do that before you start this step. I give credit to Color Me Beautiful by JoAnne Richmond for this information

Spring Makeup Colors: Light value and warm tone

Eye Pencil colors: medium to navy blue, palm green, or light to medium brown

Accent shadow (crease color): light browns, light greens, and copper. All over color: light peach

Blush Colors: peach, salmon and light coral

Lipsticks: peach, apricot, mango, and melon. All glosses should have a golden quality

Autumn Makeup Colors: Dark value and warm tone

Eye Pencil colors: medium brown to black brown

Accent shadow (crease color) medium brown, olive green, medium copper. All over color: warm candlelight

Blush Color: Salmon and terra cotta

Lipsticks: deep shades of cinnamon, peach, and terra cotta. Glosses should have a gold quality.

Summer Makeup Colors: Light Value and cool tone

Eye Pencil: medium blue, medium green and charcoal

Accent Shadow (crease color) green blue, blue greys and lavender. All over color: pale pink

Blush Color: soft pink, rose and soft plum

Lipsticks: pink, rose, and plum. Glosses: silver shimmer

Winter Makeup Colors: Deep value and cool tone

Eye Pencil: charcoal and navy. Black in the evening

Accent Shadow: medium to dark grey, medium to dark plum and medium to dark teal. All over color: pale pink

Blush Color: soft red, deep pink and wine

Lipsticks: hot pink, ruby, bright red, and plum

When choosing a foundation, you begin with your warm or cool tone. Warm toned seasons will look best in a foundation that has a yellow or golden tone. Other colors include amber, honey, or ginger colors. Cool toned season will look best in a foundation that has a pink to rose undertone as well as cognac, espresso or mink tones.

If you would like to see some examples of these colors, join me LIVE tonight at 6 p.m. in our VIP Fashionista Group. I upload the videos into YouTube as well, so you can also check the whole series out there.

Determining Your Color Palate Part Two

Last week, we talked about several tests you can take to help yourself determine if your skin tone is warm or cool. This week, we will take that knowledge and discover what season (Winter, Summer, Autumn, or Spring) bests suits you.

If you are a cool, you will either be a Winter or a Summer. Conversely, if you are a warm, you will either be an Autumn or a Spring. The main determiner to tell which category you fall into is whether you are a light or a deep. This is pretty easy in comparison to the warm or cool portion. Simply put, if your hair is light, you are a light and if you hair is deep, you are a deep. According to Color Me Beautiful, blonde, light brown, and light red hair fall into the light category while brunette, dark red, or black fall into the deep category.

Once you think you have your category figured out, take this test to confirm:

WINTER: Cool and Deep

Hair: black with no red highlights; brown black and blue black; medium or dark brown hair with ash highlights; silver or grey

Eyes: deep and dark like black, dark brown, cool hazel with blue or green, and grey blue eyes.

There are many websites that offer color palates, but some key colors for this season are: white, silver grey, charcoal, navy, icy pink, hot pink, cranberry, fuchsia, true red, raspberry, burgundy, lemon yellow, emerald green, turquoise, teal, pine, royal blue, periwinkle, purple, and silver.

SUMMER: Cool and Light

Hair: grey, brown or blonde with ash highlights

Eyes: blue, green, grey blue, aqua

Key colors for this season are: soft white, grey, light navy, rose, soft fuchsia, raspberry, blue red, watermelon, light lemon, mint, powder blue, aqua, soft teal, periwinkle, cadet blue, amethyst, spruce.

AUTUMN: Warm and Deep

Hair: copper, red, chestnut brown, dark warm brown.

Eyes: dark brown, golden brown, green, amber. Most Autumns have a brown, warm hazel or green eyes.

Key colors: ivory, cream, taupe, turquoise, camel. khaki, mahogany, coffee brown, dark brown, olive, peach, salmon, tomato red, rust, marigold, mustard, lime, moss, forest green, teal, purple, gold, coral, pumpkin, jade.

SPRING: Warm and Light

Hair: golden blonde, strawberry blonde, copper, champagne, beige blond

Eyes: blue, green or aqua, warm amber, warm hazel turquoise.

Key Colors: ivory, cream, camel, peach, coral, mango, salmon, yellow gold, light moss, blue green, teal, light navy, clear red, navy, violet, lime green, gold.

“Remember too that you can find your palate in nature”

Color Me Beautiful, 52

Color Me Beautiful offers this primer that I found helpful:

Winter = Snowflake (vivid, clear, primary, icy colors with BLUE undertones)

Summer=Sea & Sky (soft colors in the sky and sea with BLUE undertones)

Autumn= October Leaves (crisp and resembling the colors in fall leaves with GOLD undertones

Spring = Daffodill (clear delicate colors with GOLD undertones.

To see examples of the colors in each of these seasons, watch my Wednesday Wardrobing Video on Facebook or YouTube. Tune in next week to talk about makeup and choosing the right color for your skin.

Determining Your Color Palate Part 1

Determining your “season,” or the color palate that is the most complimentary for your skin, is time well spent. You can have mastered the latest trends and how to wear them, but if you wear the wrong colors, you will still not look your best. I covered this topic briefly in my Closet Cleanout Challenge Step Three. I received a lot of questions that let me know there is a lot of confusion on this topic, so I decided to do a deep dive. Thus, I have chosen to do a four part blog and video series this month for my Wednesday Night Wardrobing Live Videos that will go into detail about this topic. I encourage you to join me live tonight at 6 p.m. MST. My vision for this series is that we can all help each other work through this process. Here is the schedule:

Wednesday, March 1: Are You Warm Or Cool?

Wednesday, March 8th: What Season Are You?

Wednesday, March 15: What Are Your Best Makeup Colors?

Wednesday, March 22: How Do I Make Wardrobe and Jewelry Choices Based On My Season?

I need to give credit to JoAnne Richmond and Color Me Beautiful, which I am using as a resource for this series. I will also be using other websites as well and will reference them as we go.


Warm or cool refers to the undertones in your skin and whether they are more blue based or yellow based. You can see this distinction demonstrated in the two color palates above. Cool tones should remind you of someplace cold and snowy, while warm tones resemble a desert. To determine your palate, focus first on your hair, eyes and skin.


COOL: Platinum blonde, jet black, ash brown and ash blonde. If you have gone grey, you will have silver or pearl grey hair. A cool hair tone will have no red or gold highlights.

WARM: Golden blonde, red tones like strawberry blonde and copper, and dark red-brown. A warm hair is characterized by golden and red highlights.


COOL: Very dark or almost black eyes, dark brown, blue and grey, turquoise, and green without golden flecks.

WARM: Golden brown, red brown, olive green, blue green or clear green. Warm eye tones are characterized by golden flecks.


COOL: Porcelain (often associated with an Irish heritage), Olive (often associated with Asian, Latin and Mediterranean heritage), beige (common among Caucasians), rosy toned skin.

WARM: Ivory (often associated with Danish, Sweedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Icelandic peoples). Peach skin (often associated with Northern Europe). Golden beige or caramel colors that are characterized by gold undertones as well as coppery and maple colors (this skin can come from many heritages including African, Asian, Mediterranean, Latino and Native Americans.

If you are still struggling, there are a couple of other tests you can perform. Find a piece of clothing from the warm palate and one from the cool palate. Remove all of your makeup, and stand in front of a mirror. Drape each color around your face. When you have the correct warm or cool tone for your skin:

  1. The whites of your eyes look white and bright.
  2. Your skin should also look bright and not dull.
  3. Your teeth will appear whiter
  4. The lines around your eyes as well as dark circles will appear less apparent.

Join me next Wednesday to determine whether you are cool and deep; cool and light; warm and deep; or warm and light.

2023 Spring and Summer Fabric Trends

I have just returned from market, so it is a great time to be finishing this Spring Trends blog series with the fabric trends of the season. I always include fabric trends as part of my trend reviews because it is distinct from color and style trends. Sometimes an item is trendy purely because of the fabric even though the style is a classic.

Take a look at the pictures at the top of this blog post. These three model groupings were a visual summary of the most important trends for the season. They were compiled by designers showing at the Magic Apparel Trade Show in Las Vegas. They are a great representation of several important fabric trends of the season:

  1. Metallic Fabrics: There is a big emphases on metals this season and with that, shiny fabrics. The models on either end of the pictures represent this trend. On the left, notice the metallic fabric used for the modern suit. You can see that it catches the light, reflecting back a dark grey iridescent sheen. On the far right, look at the shiny silver mini skirt, reminiscent of sterling silver with its luxurious bright silver color.
  2. Sheer Fabrics: This season, designers are also focusing on soft and sheer fabrics. On the model on the left, you can see that her top is a sheer, black mesh. This idea is repeated in the prominence of Toole this season. The model in the middle is wearing a lime green Toole skirt that balances out its ruffles with the soft, sheer fabric.
  3. Vegan Leather Fabrics: We’ve seen faux or vegan leather for the last several seasons, and it continues to be important this season. The model in the vegan leather suiting shows off this trend in classic black. You can also see it represented in the Moto Jacket pictured in the middle.
  4. Shiny Fabrics: The short cocktail dress on the mannequin in the picture to the left is a great example of this trend. This soft sequined dress is simple in its design but is made special by the iridescent sequins that reflect the light.
  5. Vegan Fur Fabrics: The faux fur coat on the mannequin on the left is a show stopper and demonstrates the importance of fur as a statement piece.

This second set of images represent the fall fabric trends for this year. Notice a continuation of Toole, Sheer, and Fur fabrics in these looks. The great news is that you can be sure that if you invest in these fabrics now, you will still be able to wear them next season.

I hope this fabric trend review has been helpful for you! If you missed any of my previous trend reports, be sure to check out my Spring Color Trends Post and my Spring Style Trends Post. You can also watch my Wednesday Wardrobing Live Video on this topic. These air every Wednesday at 6 p.m. MST in my VIP Facebook Group. I would appreciate your comments on this post and am happy to answer any questions.

When how you look matters,

XOXO Kyleen