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The magic of “Before” and “After”

Dear Ladies,

I would like to reflect on the concept of “Before and After”.

It is simple: “Before” is a state of mind when we resolve to look “good enough” and “After” is when we are determined to look “our best”. What is behind the the transformation? Read on…

work style makeover

Proportions, Cut, Color

This is a pretty young woman with nice body, with “high school” lingering in her hair style and her clothes looking a size larger than optimal. Despite of her youth and pleasant features, one can pass by her on a street without another look.

As you can see, some quick fixes go a long way. Besides the flattering haircut and makeup, change in the proportions put the image together: the focal point is on the slender waistline, because the skirt sits higher over the baggy sweater and the sleeves have just the right length.

There are two more office outfits, both jackets are with elements of sport style: multi-color, defined pockets and non-classic collar, interesting sleeves in one case and zipper in another. This style is right for her, you don’t want to see this beauty tucked into an  FBI-like suit.

Did you notice that the makeup is more intense to level with the bright jacket? Without it the face above that jacket would look washed out.

Focal Point, Contrast, Combo

Nothing wrong with this girl either. Did I say “girl”? Well – this is an impression she’d give me if I met her somewhere. While it is the right tendency to look young, it is always better to look “right”.

Kudos to makeup artist and hair stylist for bringing a beauty to a spotlight. What about that black and black combination…achromatic colors can’t hurt, if you don’t care to look interesting.

But if you do, let’s break the boredom with some focal points. First, we add a contrast jacket, which changes the tone and suggests more put-together look for work or off work time. Then we add accessories. Won’t you agree that the scarf with the loud print and necklace offer an interesting twist to the image? Now you’d pay attention.

You may also notice that the elements of capsule wardrobe are introduced in this makeover. The pants, the jacket and the turtleneck shirt are used to create more than one outfit. A printed skirt and boots with heels complete the entire look with a feminine touch.

Break Up Black with Contrast Colors

Here is a good looking woman in elegant age. She is a bit savvier in selecting her clothes and have some right ideas for her “properties”. Her dress is the right length, her cardigan is meant to add vertical lines and distract an eye from her full midsection (apple shape). She acknowledges the role of accessories in the complete look.

But what’s wrong with the picture? It is a common belief that the black color visually shrinks a body, yes, just like any other dark color (photo on the right). Beware that black color also emphasizes both appealing assets and faults of your body. There are better ways to look slimmer in your clothes. In this case we see a bulky mass of black.

For the solution the stylist selected a garment (summer coat) designed to break a solid color to create an illusion of well-balanced body. Two major rules are used in this design to hide the size: 1) break the mass into smaller pieces using prints or combination of colors 2) move the attention to details (bright cuffs, shiny buttons and pockets).  Waistline is created with lighter panels on the sides, details complementing the V-neck. Contrast colors and firm fabric play beautifully together. It also help to move the darker colors from your face as you are aging.  Hair and makeup are the nice touch, but not dominant in this makeover.

Dynamic shape, vibrant color

This change is hardly qualified as a makeover, but the effect is significant. Which image looks easy and more dynamic? – The image on the left. This is a simple, comfortable, “soccer mom” type of look and “running errands” type of message.

We see the right choice of color for the woman’s skin tone, complimenting pants for her shapely legs, fashionable sneakers. What is off? First, let’s agree that her upper body is dominant (triangle or athletic body type). It looks even bigger in the bright shapeless shirt.

To minimize the effect of this attire and balance the image we need to reduce the eye catching expanse of the shirt, in this case the short jacket of darker color is a great find. It covers the most of the shirt without hiding the vibrant shade. Alternatively, if the bright and dark color were reversed in their placement (imagine tight dark top and wide coral pants) the image would also be balanced, but will not make this woman look taller.

Speaking of height, the hair style and heels, opening in the front, indeed, contribute to taller, leaner and sexier appearance, although keeping the sneakers will not hurt the style. Adding a colorful accessories and – voila! Not a “soccer mom” anymore, but boisterous young woman.

Yours, Yelena

Let’s paint a beautiful picture together.

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Looking Stylish and Elegant Over 50

50+ and looking good

This article is for those over 50 who wants to look stylish and elegant.

White and pastel color refresh

The black color on the picture below is away from the face. It is used for leggings, shoes, bag and decoration on the hat. Wear white and off-white colors such as milky-white, old paper, vanilla, cream. The images above: white jeans and light cardigan, both look youthful and dynamic. Next images shows long vest and long coat, it is very stylish and popular, these items will look good on a curvy woman, beware that large collar can make your upper body look even larger.

Wearing pastel colors is a good idea, these colors always play well with aging skin and it’s problems.One of the suggestion is to choose clear colors, without gray, although light gray itself is also a good choice with bright accessories.

You can also use bright accessories with pastel colors, even as bright as orange. A bag

or a pair of shoes can make your look interesting as on the picture below.

Make a use of bright colors and bright accessories

Don’t be afraid to use 2-3 bright colors in your accessories or in your prints.  On the pictures below “triangle” and “opposite” color combination rules are used to add focal points. Remember the proportion of colors. One of the colors should be a base (takes up more area on the outfit) and another is an accent (less, but more bright). The images below look sharp.  Yellow is not only for young people, as long as it does not dominate the look. This lady looks tastefully younger, but not ridicules.

 Bright scarfs make your image look interesting and memorable. It is critical that any accessories worn next to your face is one of your colors. This is the only rule. Anything else: bags, shoes, bracelets  can be of  any bright color, which blends well in to your outfit.

Hats also  could be bright (again, your color) or lighter, but not gray.

Without bright accessories, the lady on the picture would look too bland in her gray suit, her face may look pale and bland as well, but the hat and the scarf refresh her face.  Even if you prefer dark colors and you have plenty of dark clothes in your wardrobe, you need to mix them with bright colors.


Be mindful about prints on your clothes. For example, floral prints like large roses my give an impression of a granny in girlish dress. Try to select more modern prints such as abstract, water colors, botanic. Some delicate polka dots print is advisable for either blouse or pencil/A-shape skirts, but not a dress. Some checker too, but not much.

Mix styles: the image below shows shorter pants and a jacket. The image is interesting because of the prints.




Casual Style

Even if casual looks are not your favorite, using elements of sports style reduces the impression of age.

Suggestion: mix the styles. Add elements of the sport/casual style to your favorite styles, whichever it may be: elegant, feminine, urban. Imagine sport shoes or leather jacket with elegant pants or skirt. Wear jeans, lace up boots, jackets with fun details patches and bright inside materials, military style. Some details and vibrant colors will suggest fun and energy.

Essentially the same outfit below is modified for a woman 50+. Jeans are different according to age group. Sailor shirt is “softer”. Another outfit is based on denim items, which would be boring just by itself. What makes it interesting? Sport jacket, belt, and scarf.The way we look after 50 depends on our taste. In any age we need to look elegant and tasteful.