Strategic Style

Welcome

Welcome to "Strategic Style".  Unlike most fashion blogs. it doesn’t spotlight how great I look in the hottest seasonal trends. I occasionally use my clothes as examples, but this blog isn’t about ME - or about trends either.

It’s about YOU, and classic design principles to determine wardrobe choices that showcase the fabulous things  about you.  Then you'll shop strategically, dress effortlessly and feel confident about your appearance no matter your lifestyle, age, size or budget.

It is the clothes’ responsibility to make YOU look good  -- not the other way around.  You'll look  best in clothes and accessories that have “points of connection” to you.  The more characteristics in common between you and your clothes, the more fabulous you'll look. Your stuff will look classier too, based on that repetition.

Things that connect with you also connect with one another, creating more mix-and-match than you ever imagined.  Shop less, spend less and feel great about how you look every day. Put wardrobe issues on the back burner and head out the door every day with confidence to play your special role in the world!   Welcome aboard!

Reader Example of Value Contrast

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After last week’s post about value contrast levels, a reader named Valerie emailed me a photo of her outfit and asked for input.  I though the ensuing discussion might interest the rest of our group, and Valerie agreed to share it. Valerie described herself as high-contrast, with a preference for black-and-white and bright colors.  The outfit in question consists of dark-wash jeans (obviously not visible in the headshot), a soft white tee and light blue long vest, popped with the bright scarf. 

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Invaluable Info on Value Contrast.

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In any visual composition, attention goes first and foremost to the area of greatest light/dark or bright/dark contrast.  Since the objective of an optimal outfit is putting the attention on your face, that means that you never want to wear a color combination with more light/dark contrast that you see in your personal color pattern. What is the darkest element of your personal coloring?  Hair?  Eyes? What is the lightest element?  Skin?  Hair? The step of difference between the two is the greatest degree of contrast you should wear.

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Finding Color Value Balance

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“Value” means how light or dark a color appears.  Your personal color pattern has value too.  When the two don’t connect, your head looks disconnected from your body – that’s kind of weird, no?   And it makes you look shorter and heavier – not too many woman are looking for that effect! Here are two pretty jarring examples of the disconnect, taken from celebrity photos in a popular fashion magazine.  See how their heads seem to be almost floating away?  Just not really part of the same picture with the outfit? 

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Color Certainty is the Key

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Nothing – absolutely nothing – is more critical to looking your personal best than defining your unique group of most flattering colors.  Color is the first thing people notice about what you are wearing.  It’s more important that than the figure-flattery of the style.  More important than the fit.  More important than the price tag or the designer name.  Some of those other things are important … but NOTHING is more foundational than getting the color right.

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Finding Your “Key Neutral”

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Although the retail fashion world insists that every woman should choose black as her base neutral, they do that to make their inventory management more profitable, not because it makes us all look our best.  In truth, the more enhancing neutral for a woman’s wardrobe nearly always relates closely to her hair color. We are talking about the hair color people see, whether that is natural or enhanced. (The exception: if you’ve colored your hair some far-out shade that doesn’t relate to the rest of your coloring. Then we need to talk.)

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