Fashion Tips

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How to Look Exclusive and Stylish on a Budget

How to Look Exclusive and Stylish on a Budget 

1. Wear Quality Materials 

Remember, a big leather bag is a big leather bag regardless of the name brand on the inside. Similarly, a white cotton shirt is a white cotton shirt. The lesson is that if you consistently look for specific fabrics that are classics, you can’t go wrong. 


One of the hallmarks of cheap clothing is a shiny, obviously synthetic fabric. Natural fabrics like linen feel expensive because they have the exact opposite feel. It actually gets better with age, whereas many synthetic fabrics deteriorate at an accelerated pace. 

We all know authentic suede is an expensive fabric, like most leathers. “Vegan” suede tops our list of great affordable fabrics because it’s difficult to differentiate the faux from the real, so it naturally looks fancier than it is.

Cotton is a high-quality fabric that doesn’t necessarily come at an elevated price. Its natural fibers are its strong point, similar to linen, and the washable, low-maintenance fabric is easy to care for. 

One of the hallmarks of cheap clothing is a shiny, obviously synthetic fabric. Natural fabrics like linen feel expensive because they have the exact opposite feel. It actually gets better with age, whereas many synthetic fabrics deteriorate at an accelerated pace

Rayon tends to age poorly, and it will often start to pill or show wear and tear after a few wears

Acrylic pieces can lose their shape easily, so after you wash an acrylic sweater, for example, you may find it stretched out and ill-fitting. It also isn’t a very warm fabric for winter pieces.

Polyester has a bit of a bad reputation, but today’s versions have a decent feel, and the fabric is so ubiquitous in affordable clothing that it can be hard to avoid. We recommend considering each polyester piece individually—stick to affordable brands known for high quality, and always run your hands over the fabric to ensure it doesn’t feel cheap.

2. Get Affordable Designer Pieces 

 Shop affordable pieces, that look expensive. For example, I buy my designer shoes on the clearance shelf at DSW, Marshalls/TJMaxx have a nice affordable collection of the designer handbags, Target has really pretty off designer bags. Explore consignment stores or end-of-season clearance at Macy’s. Having a trendy piece is not a key; the most important is to find timeless items that fit YOU, even if they are past season. You can fake an expensive wardrobe by keeping it neutral. By wearing less expensive items and accessorizing them with the name brands, you can get the same look for half the price. Check out Brad’s deals:  for discounts 

3.  Coats, Jackets and Other Layers


Buy an inexpensive faux leather jacket you can match with many garments. Younger audience can find it in Forever 21: the left jacket for$42.90(sizes S–L) and the right jacket for $47.90(sizes 0X–3X). For more mature ladies, try Wilson Leather, Burlington Coat Factory

Tailored jacket is a stylish woman’s secret weapon. It elevates denim, polishes flow-y dresses, looks chic thrown over the shoulders and takes slim pants to the next level. Forgo the trends each season and focus on purchasing coats that are forever: classic camel, navy pea, black moto, belted trench, raw denim—every time you reach for a topper, you won’t regret it. 

4. The importance of Good Underwear 


A choice of  quality underwear whether it is a gorgeous bralette peeking out from your neckline or nude undies  matching your skin tone will play a critical role in how your clothes look on you and how you feel about yourself . 

To choose a good bra, go to Victoria Secret or Bloomingdale if you can’t afford their selection, get your measurement right and find it online or in less expensive stores.  

Not everyone can wear thongs to hide panties line protruding from under stretchy bottoms, but there are seamless options, just have your size right.  

 5. Trendy tricks 

    Effortless is something we’re always value in style, and if you prefer casual or urban fashion style learn some new trends to wear your favorite outfits.  

Master the different ways to do a tuck or partial tuck with your baggy sweater hem or shirts tail for easy look.  

Some shirts are “asking” for a knot in the front at a waist, it will create the silhouette. Alternatively, learn how to roll your sleeves like they do at J.Crew. Or try a chic belt with your sweaters and cardigans for maximum impact.  

6. Go Neat

 Nothing screams “cheap!” louder than wrinkled outfit. It seems like something your mother would tell you to take the extra five minutes to steam or press your look, which will add instant polish to your favorites.  Hang your clothes in the bathroom while you take a hot shower to help get the wrinkles out. Or buy wrinkle-resistant fabrics. 

Get your things tailored for a perfect fit. Taking the extra two days from  purchase to have your neighborhood tailor nip and tuck your latest great find, versus ripping the tags off and wearing right away, will elevate the final product way beyond its original price tag.  Take accurate measurements when you’re shopping online so you buy stuff that actually fits. I suggest you visit a store and try on a few things, then locate them online for a discounted price. 

7. Go monochromatic 

 Dress head to toe in the same color. Not only is it incredibly elongating, but a monochrome outfit always looks intentional and put together. (Tip: Just make sure your whites are bright and your blacks match.) Or add some accent colors with your accessories. 

8. Shiny accessories 

 There is just something about structural, gilded extras—whether a bag or jewelry or both—that make you look like you stepped out of the pages of a magazine. Use statement jewelry or killer shoes. Take care of your leather accessories; you can use Windex on patent leather, unscented body lotion on all other leather. 

When storing your boots or bags – re-stuff them so they keep their shape and pack you purses in dust bags when traveling. 

9. Dressed up jeans 


We absolutely love jeans. Just make sure you add heels or chic flats. Jeans will rock button down shirts and tees, they could be worn with jackets and vests.  

.You can get quality neutral items at Gap and pair them with high end accessories like scarves and bracelets than it is to afford a name brand silk blouse. 


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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.

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Importance of proportions

Which image looks better?

Which image looks better?

The image on the right looks better. Nice and simple: having a shirt with a proper length makes the legs look longer. The 2/3 rule is used here. What is “proper length”? As a golden rule the visual line between an upper and lower body should not cut the body at curve or your widest parts. About an inch above the hips – this fits most body types.






Again, the image on the right looks better. These outfits are assembled with similar items, but look dramatically different. Lets review the picture props. Lower neckline makes the neck look longer. The jacket line is compliant with the proportion rules and balances the upper and lower body. Shorter skirt (and the choice of tall boots with heels) make the legs look longer. (Hint: longer skirts look better on the taller women, if you are short avoid or be careful) A few more details: pencil skirt slims down in most cases. Defined waist line also contributes to entire image looking better. In my humble opinion the purse of a contrast color is not such a bad idea, it distracts from overall boxy look on the left picture.

Which image looks better?

No question here, of course the image on the right looks better.

Ladies with apple/oval shape pay attention – this is for you. Again shorter top balances the upper and lower body. Long jeans of neutral color slim down hips and thighs, Boot cut design hides wide cuffs. Shoes or boots are the same or similar shade as jeans make legs look longer. White T-shirt underneath the stripped shirt is shorter at the waist line and doesn’t attract attention to the problematic area in comparison with the left image. Lets agree that accessories on the left (boots and purse) not anywhere near of being stylish. Although little purse on the right looks better – I would take slightly bigger one (to be more proportional with the body size) and a bit brighter.


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Color Combinations Rules

With this tool you can see which colors you  can wear together.

  1. Find the little circle with arrow in it and move it around the wheel, from inside to outside the wheel until you find the shade of the garment in the central square below the wheel for which you are trying to find a match.  Once you match the color with your garment select a different Color rule from the drop-down menu. The squares to the left and to the right of your selected color will give you an idea for the combination. Try different rules. My favorite are Monochromatic and Complimentary.
  2. Alternatively, use the tool to find the right colors for your skin tone. Good judgement is needed. By clicking on the camera icon upload your picture, where your face is well lit, the more face on the picture the better. You will be presented with 5 spot selections. If you have full body on the picture the selections will be placed everywhere, including background. Click on the one circle and drag it around your face, while clicked you will get a portion of your face in a separate circle. While moving notice which square changes, move the mouse  until you feel that the color in that square is very close to your skin color. Use your best judgement. Click on that square and move it to the central position. Click on the color wheel icon – you will be presented with the same screen as above with your skin tone in the middle. Pull down different rules: Triad Complimentary and Compound would be the best selection, when you selecting colors for your skin tone.
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Owning this business unleashes my creativity and fulfills the thirst for art. If I can’t paint or make dresses I still have an eye for a style. I see a beauty in every woman whether it is an obvious feature  or  hidden asset that needs to be revealed. How many times I caught myself “fixing”  in my head the outfits or accessories or little details  in women’s looks that would significantly improve the visual perception of them, make them more beautiful and put together. Having served my clients and see them happy and loving the way they look gives me a great deal of satisfaction.