The Best Necklines to Flatter Your Shoulders

Fashion necklinesWide shoulders? Narrow shoulders? Get the scoop on which necklines work for you from Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time.

If your shoulders are:
WIDE
Wear tailored sweetheart neckline or U-neck to draw attention to décolletage.
Toss boat neck, scoop neck, thick straps, and wide lapels.

NARROW
Wear sleeveless, puffy sleeves, wide collars, and wide scoop necks.
Toss raglan sweaters, crew necks, dropped sleeves, spaghetti straps, and halters.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.

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The Basic Dress Every Woman Needs

It’s a V-neck, semi-fitted dress, worn with a bold necklace or statement earrings, a bracelet, and heels. Here are eight more details to look for — and 10 to avoid — when shopping for the dress. From Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time, by Amy E. Goodman.

Wear: A V-neck, semifitted dress, worn with a bold necklace or statement earrings, a bracelet, and heels.

  • Shoulder straps or fabric that rests naturally on your shoulders
  • Armholes that fit — no gaping, no constricting
  • A zipper that zips easily. Holding your breath? Size up
  • Seams that lie flat on shoulders, sides, and butt
  • A style that tastefully shows some skin in your décolleté to balance a curvy body
  • Fabric that drapes smoothly, showing off curves without being taut
  • Monochrome color scheme, which is almost always slimming
  • Patterns proportional to your body size. If you’re petite, go for smaller prints; for larger frames, try bigger prints

Toss: A visually detailed dress with busy pattern panels is never a basic choice.

  • Beyond busy prints
  • Horizontal stripes (unless you’re curve-less)
  • Shoulder fabric or straps that dig
  • Unflatteringly stiff fabrics
  • Roomy, shapeless dresses that no longer fit
  • A dress with sky-high shoulder pads
  • Shirt dresses with buttons that pop at the chest
  • Overly appliquéd styles with sequins, paillettes, rhinestones, rosettes, beading, crystals, pom poms, fringe, and shells that visually or actually weigh you down
  • Strapless styles if you have broad shoulders
  • Muu-muus

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That!: Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.

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A Cheat Sheet: The Best Brands and Styles of Jeans for Real Women

There is now more figure-flattering denim available than ever before — are you overwhelmed by the options? This breakdown will help you narrow your search for the perfect pair. From Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time, by Amy E. Goodman.

Citizens of Humanity
KELLY Bootcut – slick denim
AVA Straight-legAccess Hollywood voted this the best straight-leg jean in 2009.
AVEDON Super Stretch Skinny; Avedon Slick Skinny Leg and the Stirrup Skinny Leg — uses their exclusive 818 Super Stretch denim with 35 percent stretchability, standard five-pocket. It’s a jean that wears like a legging and is super soft; 8-inch front rise, 30-inch inseam, 11-inch leg opening. Also available in a stirrup.

Tips and Where to Buy: Creative director Jerome Dahan sews side seams at an angle, not straight, for a slimming effect. Available at www.citizensofhumanity.com

CJ By Cookie Johnson
Debuted with five styles, all with generous rises. Three examples:
FAITH (straight-leg) 9-inch rise, 34-inch inseam, 14-inch leg opening.
TRUTH (high-waist, wide-leg) 10.5-inch rise, 24-inch leg opening, 34.5-inch inseam.
GLORY (pleated jean) 9.25-inch rise, 13-inch leg opening, 23.5-inch inseam.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales, http://cjbycookiejohnson.com

GAP
1969 CURVY JEANS with boot-cut leg opening — offer a little extra room in the hips, thighs, and seat with a “contoured waistband” that sucks in the hips. Choose ankle, regular, or long inseam.

Tips and Wear to Buy: Available at www.gap.com

HUDSON
CANONBURY Five-Pocket Bootcut — double-button waistband and classic boot-cut fit. 19-inch leg opening, 34½-inch inseam.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.hudsonjeans.com

J BRAND
SCARLETT Curvy Fit Bootcut — fuller in the thigh and high hip, with a contoured waistband that eliminates any waist gap so many women with curves encounter. 18-inch leg opening, 34-inch inseam, 12.5-ounce stretch denim.

Tips and Where to Buy: J Brand is known for a slimmer fit in the leg, dark washes, clean back pockets and jeans without embellishments. Available at www.jbrandjeans.com

JOE’S JEANS
THE HONEY – famous for its fit on voluptuous women. The waistband is “clinched” or cinched in the rear to fit curvy women in the thighs and hips, and particularly their bottoms, so no back gap. 18¾-inch leg opening.
THE SKINNY HONEY — 12½-inch leg opening.
THE MUSE — high waist that lands just below the belly button to hold in the tummy. A “lower than usual high waist” and subtle pockets to “stop any undesirable extra curves that many highwaist fits present.” Boot-cut leg with 19-inch leg opening, 34-inch inseam, 9-inch rise.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.joesjeans.com

LEVI STRAUSS & CO.
TOTALLY SLIMMING Boot-cut Jeans — these best-sellers, made with high-stretch denim, feature a built-in tummy control panel for an ultimate slim look.
TOTALLY SHAPING Jeans – feature high-stretch denim and built-in tummy control panel, with a backside engineered to flatter the booty.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at Kmart (www.kmart.com), Wal-mart (www.walmart.com), and www.levi.com

LUCKY BRAND
RILEY SLOUCHY SKINNY Jeans — a cross between a boyfriend jean and a skinny jean that Lucky Brand dubs the “liberated skinny.” Flatters the curvier figure because of the rise, pocket placement, and general silhouette, with a relaxed fit through the hips and thighs. 32-inch regular inseam.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.luckybrand.com

PAIGE PREMIUM DENIM
MONTECITO — generous in the thighs and derrière, a tailored boot cut that still achieves a slim leg. 8-inch rise, 34-inch inseam, 18-inch leg opening.
HIDDEN HILLS Carbon High-Rise Bootcut — a higher rise and a double-button waistband add support in the waist. 9-inch rise, 34-inch inseam, 20-inch leg opening.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.paigepremiumdenim.com and www.paigeusa.com.

7 FOR ALL MANKIND
JOSEPHINA Skinny Boyfriend Jeans — slightly roomy in the thigh but tapered in the leg. 7-inch front rise, 11.5-inch back rise, 11.5-ounce stretch Italian denim, 2 percent spandex.
GINGER PANT in lightweight Mercer – this brand’s widest trouser skims over thighs to a wide leg opening. 8-inch front rise, 12-inch back rise.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.7forallmankind.com

SERFONTAINE
SWEETHEART JEANS -- a popular, classic style with special stretch fabric and a curved yoke (waistband) on the backside to flatter derrières. Strategically placed pockets do double duty: flatter curvy bottoms and give the illusion of curves for the straighter woman.
Serfontaine uses a patented bio-stretch technology (a four-way stretch fabric) so the styles are exceptionally flattering no matter what your body type.

Available in Sweetheart boot-cut legs (7.5-inch front rise, 16- inch leg opening) and drainpipe legs (straight but not skinny; 7.5-inch front rise and 13-inch leg opening).

Tips and Where to Buy: In U.S. stores, the Serfontaine body-scanning machine enables shoppers to have their bodies scanned and get jeans and size recommendations that best fit their specific body types; custom-made jeans can be ordered based on the scans. For stores, www.serfontaine.com.

TRUE RELIGION
BECKY Boot-Cut Jeans — one of True Religion’s core cuts, comes in a variety of styles, embellishments, and washes. 8-inch front rise, 13-inch back rise, 18-inch leg opening.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.truereligionbrandjeans.com.

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A Cheat Sheet: The Best Brands and Styles of Jeans for Real Women

There is now more figure-flattering denim available than ever before — are you overwhelmed by the options? This breakdown will help you narrow your search for the perfect pair. From Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time, by Amy E. Goodman.

Citizens of Humanity
KELLY Bootcut – slick denim
AVA Straight-legAccess Hollywood voted this the best straight-leg jean in 2009.
AVEDON Super Stretch Skinny; Avedon Slick Skinny Leg and the Stirrup Skinny Leg — uses their exclusive 818 Super Stretch denim with 35 percent stretchability, standard five-pocket. It’s a jean that wears like a legging and is super soft; 8-inch front rise, 30-inch inseam, 11-inch leg opening. Also available in a stirrup.

Tips and Where to Buy: Creative director Jerome Dahan sews side seams at an angle, not straight, for a slimming effect. Available at www.citizensofhumanity.com

CJ By Cookie Johnson
Debuted with five styles, all with generous rises. Three examples:
FAITH (straight-leg) 9-inch rise, 34-inch inseam, 14-inch leg opening.
TRUTH (high-waist, wide-leg) 10.5-inch rise, 24-inch leg opening, 34.5-inch inseam.
GLORY (pleated jean) 9.25-inch rise, 13-inch leg opening, 23.5-inch inseam.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales, http://cjbycookiejohnson.com

GAP
1969 CURVY JEANS with boot-cut leg opening — offer a little extra room in the hips, thighs, and seat with a “contoured waistband” that sucks in the hips. Choose ankle, regular, or long inseam.

Tips and Wear to Buy: Available at www.gap.com

HUDSON
CANONBURY Five-Pocket Bootcut — double-button waistband and classic boot-cut fit. 19-inch leg opening, 34½-inch inseam.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.hudsonjeans.com

J BRAND
SCARLETT Curvy Fit Bootcut — fuller in the thigh and high hip, with a contoured waistband that eliminates any waist gap so many women with curves encounter. 18-inch leg opening, 34-inch inseam, 12.5-ounce stretch denim.

Tips and Where to Buy: J Brand is known for a slimmer fit in the leg, dark washes, clean back pockets and jeans without embellishments. Available at www.jbrandjeans.com

JOE’S JEANS
THE HONEY – famous for its fit on voluptuous women. The waistband is “clinched” or cinched in the rear to fit curvy women in the thighs and hips, and particularly their bottoms, so no back gap. 18¾-inch leg opening.
THE SKINNY HONEY — 12½-inch leg opening.
THE MUSE — high waist that lands just below the belly button to hold in the tummy. A “lower than usual high waist” and subtle pockets to “stop any undesirable extra curves that many highwaist fits present.” Boot-cut leg with 19-inch leg opening, 34-inch inseam, 9-inch rise.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.joesjeans.com

LEVI STRAUSS & CO.
TOTALLY SLIMMING Boot-cut Jeans — these best-sellers, made with high-stretch denim, feature a built-in tummy control panel for an ultimate slim look.
TOTALLY SHAPING Jeans – feature high-stretch denim and built-in tummy control panel, with a backside engineered to flatter the booty.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at Kmart (www.kmart.com), Wal-mart (www.walmart.com), and www.levi.com

LUCKY BRAND
RILEY SLOUCHY SKINNY Jeans — a cross between a boyfriend jean and a skinny jean that Lucky Brand dubs the “liberated skinny.” Flatters the curvier figure because of the rise, pocket placement, and general silhouette, with a relaxed fit through the hips and thighs. 32-inch regular inseam.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.luckybrand.com

PAIGE PREMIUM DENIM
MONTECITO — generous in the thighs and derrière, a tailored boot cut that still achieves a slim leg. 8-inch rise, 34-inch inseam, 18-inch leg opening.
HIDDEN HILLS Carbon High-Rise Bootcut — a higher rise and a double-button waistband add support in the waist. 9-inch rise, 34-inch inseam, 20-inch leg opening.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.paigepremiumdenim.com and www.paigeusa.com.

7 FOR ALL MANKIND
JOSEPHINA Skinny Boyfriend Jeans — slightly roomy in the thigh but tapered in the leg. 7-inch front rise, 11.5-inch back rise, 11.5-ounce stretch Italian denim, 2 percent spandex.
GINGER PANT in lightweight Mercer – this brand’s widest trouser skims over thighs to a wide leg opening. 8-inch front rise, 12-inch back rise.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.7forallmankind.com

SERFONTAINE
SWEETHEART JEANS -- a popular, classic style with special stretch fabric and a curved yoke (waistband) on the backside to flatter derrières. Strategically placed pockets do double duty: flatter curvy bottoms and give the illusion of curves for the straighter woman.
Serfontaine uses a patented bio-stretch technology (a four-way stretch fabric) so the styles are exceptionally flattering no matter what your body type.

Available in Sweetheart boot-cut legs (7.5-inch front rise, 16- inch leg opening) and drainpipe legs (straight but not skinny; 7.5-inch front rise and 13-inch leg opening).

Tips and Where to Buy: In U.S. stores, the Serfontaine body-scanning machine enables shoppers to have their bodies scanned and get jeans and size recommendations that best fit their specific body types; custom-made jeans can be ordered based on the scans. For stores, www.serfontaine.com.

TRUE RELIGION
BECKY Boot-Cut Jeans — one of True Religion’s core cuts, comes in a variety of styles, embellishments, and washes. 8-inch front rise, 13-inch back rise, 18-inch leg opening.

Tips and Where to Buy: Available at www.truereligionbrandjeans.com.

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When to Toss Your Makeup

Makeup, like food, has expiration dates. Bacteria can build up and can lead, in the worst case, to rashes and infections. From Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time, by Amy E. Goodman.

Here’s a tip: Place a small sticker on the product and write the month and year (such as 4/2011) you open it. Better yet, calculate the date it expires and write that down. And if anything has a strange odor or is starting to separate, crackle, or clump, just toss it!

How Long Should You Keep It?

Makeup
Concealer — 1 year
Foundation — 1–1½ years
Facial powder — 2 years
Blush, Powder — 2 years
Blush, Cream — 1 year
Bronzer — 2 years
Pencil Eyeliner — 2 years
Liquid Eyeliner — 3 months
Eye Shadow, Powder — 2 years
Eye Shadow, Cream — 1 year
Mascara — 3 months
Brow Liner or Powder — 2 years
Lipstick — 2 years
Lip Gloss — 1 ½ –2 years
Lip Liner — up to 3 years, if pencil
Makeup Brushes — wash every 3 months with a brush cleanser
Nail Polish — 2 years

Skincare Products
Cleanser — 1 year
Moisturizers — 1 year
Eye Cream — 1 year
Sunscreen — 1 year
Makeup Primer — 6 months–1 year
Lip Balm — 1 year
Exfoliators — 6-9 months
Anti-aging Masques & Treatments — 6 months–1 year

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That!: Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.

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3 Foolproof Tips for Choosing the Right Bag

If the sheer volume of styles and shapes of bags confounds you, follow these three simple guidelines from Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time.

1. Your bag shape and body shape shouldn’t match. If you’re tall and thin, consider an unstructured, slouchy bag. If you’re round and curvy, get a structured style. Think opposite for a beautiful balance. And if you’re average all around, lucky you — you can sport any style. Be sure to try your bag on in front of a mirror. It’s a must.

2. The bag should hit your assets. If you have hips, make sure the bag hits above or below but not at your hip. If you are busty, the bag should hit below the bust. If you are petite, your bag should go no lower than the waist or you’ll appear to be all bag and no body! Tall? Celebrate your stature with a long bag that hits just below the hip.

3. Consider your bag’s main functions. Will you wear it to work? Are you a mom on the go? Do you need a bag to carry you through a weekend or simply to hold a compact, lipstick, and ID for a special evening out? Do you dig pockets or just one main compartment? The answer to these questions will determine the size, style, and durability of your bag. A small crystal clutch won’t likely hold a work file.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.

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Handbag

5 Must-Have Jeans (and 4 You Should Toss)

Still searching for the perfect pair of jeans? Get expert advice on the most flattering — and unflattering — styles from Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time.

Must Haves

  • Fitted, boot-cut jeans in a dark denim wash that nicely frames your booty and legs, paired with high heels
  • Trouser denim pants, perfect for a casual or artistic workplace environment
  • Skinny jeans for under fuller sweaters and blousy tops
  • Cropped denim for warmer months
  • Jeggings (jean leggings)

Raising the Bar
Enter your measurements and style preferences at www.mytruefit.com, and find jean options across brands that best match your body. Experts suggest looking for jeans with at least 2 percent stretch.

Shape Saver
Like to wear your denim with heels and flats? Bristols 6 Hem Tape for Denim is super sticky save-me double-stick tape, allowing you to give jeans a temporary hem for whichever shoe you choose ($12, bristols6.com).

Best Bets
Cookie Johnson (Magic Johnson’s wife) was sick of not getting jeans on past her knees. Her denim line, CJ by Cookie Johnson, offers jean cuts with curvy women in mind: stretch, dark washes, and higher rise in rear. Nordstrom, $141 and up; www.nordstrom.com.

Shape Saver
Have a pancake butt? Look for back pockets placed high on your rear to give you an instant derrière lift and curve. And keep the pockets clean.

Match Point
Wide-legged, dark denim trousers are fast becoming office staples and a save-me for women who love wearing jeans to work. Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne and Nicole by Nicole Miller offer stunning options.

Toss: Oversized, formless denim that is cut too short, in a high rise and a light wash that doesn’t flatter thighs.

Other Must Lose

  • Stovepipe jeans if you have curves
  • Acid wash jeans
  • Super tight jeans that create butt wrinkles under cheeks — too tight!

Behind the Seams
Distressed, stonewashed, faded, and whiskered jeans (all techniques to make the jeans look worn) can make legs wider when the special effects are positioned at the hips and thighs. If these are problem areas, opt for darker washes with consistent color. I size up when it comes to darker denim because darker jeans have less stretch.

Outsourcing
Going up a jean size to fit your thighs and butt commonly results in the drafty “back gap” at the waist that no amount of belting can correct. Have a tailor do the easy work of taking in the waist.

Age Alert
“How low can you go” is not a motto for low-rise jeans as you mature. While still flaunting your assets, make sure jeans fully cover your butt, lower back, and tummy. Brands such as Paige Premium Denim and 7 For All Mankind offer ample options.

Insourcing
Did you know that jeans fade with every wash? To preserve pigment, turn jeans inside out before washing in cold water. Check the label to see if tumble dry on low heat is recommended; otherwise, hang dry.

Ditch It
Tapered denim shows off calves and legs but also makes hips appear twice as wide. Very few can wear skinny stovepipe jeans (which are cut narrow from knee to ankle). Save this style for boyish figures with no hips.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.

LEARN MORE