Mens Top Styling Tips

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
– Oscar Wilde

Men, don't be afraid to have great style or to make it a priority in your life. There are so many ways you can upgrade your go-to flannel shirt and jeans look. While you don't have as many options as women, there are a lot of ways you can enhance your everyday look and my favorite way is through the art of layering. 

Pants aside, let's focus on a few easy ways you can style your tops, add some cool shoes and call it a day. Below are three of the most important elements you should have in your closet when it comes to layering for the fall. Feel free to layer one piece or layer them all. A jacket looks great over a cardigan, a cardigan looks great under a vest, a vest looks great under a jacket, and the formulas go on.  Feel free to layer which ever way suits your personal style and is appropriate for the current weather. 

Jackets

While this may seem obvious, I don't think many men realize how a jacket can impact their outfit. With options ranging beyond the average sport coat, you're able to mix and match different jackets with different shirts to help create a versatile wardrobe. Try opting for styles you haven't tried before and see if you like them. Play around with wearing a jacket over a button down versus a t-shirt and figure out which combinations you prefer. As you can see from the examples below, a cool jacket can even make a white t-shirt with jeans look good. 

Cardigans

Sweater weather is upon us and cardigans are one of my favorite items for men. They come in so many different varieties- light weight or heavy knit, button down or open front, shawl collar or collarless- and also prove to be a great alternative to a jacket. See below on how you can layer over items ranging from a white t-shirt to a suit for those days you prefer something a bit more cozy and comfortable. 

Vests

Vests are a great way to add some warmth without the bulk and you can pretty much layer it over anything including a sports coat, suit, and sweaters. They are also great to layer under lighter jackets if you need the additional warmth, but would rather not make it the main attraction. Vests are a great way to transition lighter, fall jackets into the winter and always add a bit of an unexpected twist to an outfit which makes them cool and effortless.

Interested in learning more about simple ways to upgrade your personal style or how to layer up for fall? I'm always here to chat! Contact me at gianna@blenderstyle.com with any questions.

Updating Your Summer Dresses for Fall

If you know me well, you are aware that I love Frank Sinatra. There's nothing like listening to "Summer Wind" as I walk down the busy streets of Manhattan during a hot summer day. But, at the risk of being a buzz kill, summer is coming to an end and don't you hate when a new season creeps up on you and suddenly it feels like you have nothing to wear? You’re a bit tired of the clothes you wore last year and there are so many new trends and styles that you can’t wait to factor into your wardrobe, however, finding the perfect pieces that are purchase worthy is time consuming and by the time you feel you have enough fall clothes, it’s time for winter then spring. 

Summer dresses are a great item that you can reinvent for the fall season, and below I provide some great examples on how you can repurpose them to fit into your fall closet without having to start all over again.

Slip Dresses

Slip dresses have been a fashion favorite for the past couple of years due to their versatility, subtle sexiness and comfortability. They are one of the easiest layering pieces you can own. For fall, you can simply layer under light outerwear like a denim jacket, leather jacket, or blazer, and pair with booties. Also, try layering it over a form fitting long sleeve t-shirt or a turtle neck for a tailored look. One really cool way to layer a slip dress is over a sheer top because it still keeps you covered in all the right places but adds a little more style by adding the unexpected sheerness.

chicityfashion.com 

chicityfashion.com 

Flirty Mini Dresses

This one is my favorite.  With the feminine trend holding strong over the past couple of years, we’ve been seeing a lot more flirty dresses that are made with chiffon and silk fabrics, have billowy silhouettes, ruffle trims and cute patterns. Given a good amount are bohemian inspired, you can find them in earthy tones and neutral colors that easily carry over to fall. Pair them with thigh high boots, booties, or a block heel with tights. Layer them under a fur or faux fur vest for colder days and add a wide brim fedora if you're feeling like a real fashionista.

revolve.com 

revolve.com 

Work Dresses

Assuming you work in a more business casual dress code environment unlike the casual work place I discussed in my previous blog post, jackets are key here. If you stick with a simple color palette when it comes to your work wear, then it should be easy to transition from season to season while adding accent pieces here and there. Simply layer your dress under a blazer or duster jacket, or pair with patterened tights and a close toe block heel, ankle bootie or flat.  To add more style to your outfit, opt for bold accessories like a statement necklace, earrings, or a killer work bag. Shoes are also another great way to jazz up a simple work look. Try ones that come in a unique fabric (velvet is huge!), a metallic, or play around with unique embellishments like studs and chic buckles.

Alexa Chung, stealthelook.com.br

Alexa Chung, stealthelook.com.br

Maxi Dresses

This one takes on very similar recommendations to the slip dress and flirty mini dresses. It can be layered under fall jackets (a leather jacket over a maxi dress is one of my favorite combinations) or layered over t-shirts and turtlenecks. I often prefer booties with maxi dresses to help balance out the longer silhouette, but if you have a cool slit in your maxi dress then try it with a knee high or over the knee boot for an unexpected peekaboo moment. 

closetfullofclothes.com 

closetfullofclothes.com 

If you have any questions on how to repurpose your wardrobe in any way, I'd love to talk with you! Contact me anytime at gianna@blenderstyle.com and don't forget you can sign up for my Digital Daiquiri service for only $89 while spots are still available. 

How to Dress Better for the Casual Work Environment

Work clothing is like toiletries. You hate spending the money on them, but you have no choice. A lot of companies these days are adopting a more casual dress code where the A-line pencil skirts and suits are a thing of the past. While this causes many employees to jump for joy, it also disrupts how they get dressed every day, and makes them think a little harder about what they are putting on in order to balance the casual with the cool. 

I've taken a few components of work dress below and offer recommendations on how you can adjust it to be more contemporary, professional and stylish. 

The Pants

Casual work environments are now allowing denim as part of their dress code, however, I find jeans to be a bit boring. Unless they have some amazing distressing, or make my butt look like J.Lo's, I'll pass for the most part. On the other side of the equation, the typical work pant often leaves you dissatisfied because they aren't flattering, come in a weird cut, or are too cookie cutter. Here are some tips on how you can implement alternatives to both jeans and the classic work pant:

  • Opt for a black pant with an unexpected twist like this one with the front zipper to add a little more style.
  • Try a looser silhouette like a striped culotte. Pair with a small block heel if you aren't that tall to help balance your proportions and the extra fabric.
  • Pair silk joggers with a nice top and chic loafers or heels to make it more office appropriate.
  • Leather always gives your outfit an instant upgrade. I recommend pairing leather pants with loose blouses for the office since most of them fit tight like a legging. Try them in another color besides black if you're feeling extra bold.
from left to right: Zip Front High Rise Black Pant- Elizabeth and James, Intermix on SALE; Striped Culotte- Soulmates, Dillards; Silk Jogger -Target; Leather Pants-  J Brand, Bloomingdales

 

The Jacket

I love a good blazer. I feel like I got a six figure raise every time I wear a tailored blazer and strut down the street with my big sunnies. They are classically great, but why stop there? There are so many jacket options right now that can help you keep your wardrobe diverse and versatile - bombers, dusters, jean jackets, leather jackets - all ranging in multiple styles.  Also, the blazer is such a staple item that has been reinvented over and over again that you can find it in some really cool options that include textures, double breasted buttons, all different colors and patterns, long or cropped, the list goes on. Below you'll see that you can pretty much layer a jacket over anything ranging from a striped t-shirt to an oxford button down or turtle neck.  Reimagine these looks without the jacket. Pretty boring, right?

 

from left to right: Leather Jacket- VINCE on SALE; Linen Blazer- J.Crew on SALE; Embroidered Bomber- Forever 21; Duster Jacket- Helene Berman, Nordstrom

The Dress

Step away from the J. Crew shift dress. Femininity had a big comeback over the past few years and we are seeing a ton of ruffles, lace and embroidery. These are only a few examples of the type of details you can look for when searching for the above average work dress. Silhouette is another key player here. Don't think that maxi dresses are just for your beach getaway. Layered under a leather jacket, it can be a very chic work look. Also, try playing around with what fits your body best. Fit and flare, drop waist, shirt waist, sheath and wrap dresses are a few types to begin with. Even the slightest detail like a unique sleeve on a simple dress can make all the difference. 

from left to right: Drop Waist Dress- MINKPINK, Shopbop.com; Wrap Dress- DVF; Shirt Dress- Missguided; Lace Maxi Dress- Free People, Shopbop.com

The Shoe

I could write a novel on this one. Leave the gym sneakers at home (yes, I see this a lot).  Remember, you're still coming into an office setting. And if sneakers are your jam, there are so many brands out there that make cool, casual sneakers versus the ones you'd work out in. Also, if you're a city girl like me, flats are your best friend, but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice style. There are so many options for you to choose from in order to step up from the classic ballet flat that include alternatives such as metallics, embellishments, and unique fabrications, to name a few. Also, don't rule out one to two inch block heels, which I actually find to be more comfortable than flats sometimes. This will provide you with an even wider range of comfortable options when considering stylish shoes for work.  And depending on your outfit (going back to the striped culotte), having a little extra height can help balance out your entire look. 

from left to right: Velvet Mule- Rebecca Minkoff; Embellished Ankle Strap Flats- Aquazzura; Metallic Loafer- Nine West, DSW; Casual Sneaker- Adidas

I will be writing more on work style in future blog posts, but if you have any questions about updating your work wardrobe, please don't hesitate to reach out to me anytime at gianna@blenderstyle.com. Also, don't forget my Digital Daiquiri service is now available for only $89! Sign up is easy. Just click here.

Personal Style and You

I recently read a book called “The Last Lecture”. It’s a heart-warming book based on the final lecture given by a well-known professor, Randy Pausch, after he discovers he has pancreatic cancer.  Within the book, Pausch mentions how he thinks fashion is just a way of being “hip” and a way of trying to be impressive on the surface.   He leaned toward the long-term, earnest way of living and abided by his parent’s teaching of only buying new clothes when your old ones wear out.

As a personal stylist, this stuck with me. People’s perspectives and relationship with fashion is something that has always fascinated me, which is why I love doing what I do.  Obviously, my views of fashion and style differ from Pausch’s, but I still respect his choice to prioritize earnest living over what he believes to be “hip”. My problem is that fashion always has the connotation of being pretentious, snooty and expensive, but that’s not always the case.

I believe there is a connection between someone’s outward appearance and how they are feeling internally, and a lot of the time, people don’t know how to bring those two together or develop their own personal style that portrays who they are. Some may laugh at the idea that fashion is a representation of ones self, but take a walk down the street, look at people and actually pay attention to the thoughts that arise when you digest those first impressions. Personal representation matters and style is a big factor that plays into it. 

So, how do you develop your own style? One thing that has always worked for me is observation and adaptation.  I’m always absorbing what’s around me (believe it or not, I was a very shy child and observing was my favorite hobby, aside from dressing my Barbies). I will see something on someone and love it, or hate it, or decide how I would adjust it to fit my taste. Developing style is like developing a certain palate for food. You have to find what fits you and what you like, and with everything at our fingertips these days, there is inspiration everywhere ­­– the streets, Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, and so much more. Ask yourself, "How do I want to look? What do I like/dislike? What makes me feel my best?"

For instance, I’m a big fan of long, billowy-sleeved blouses paired with belted denim shorts. It’s just a look I’ve always liked on other people and I tend to wear the combination often because it fits me. It has a bohemian, balanced sexiness to it that I love. One thing to keep in mind is that everything you like may not fit you, and that’s ok, but don’t be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone in order to develop your personal style. You’d be surprised at how it will make you feel.