3 Smart Travel Tips

Learn how to look your best for travel photographs, select clothing for travel, and save space when packing for wrinkle-free clothes, from Eva Scrivo, author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, the Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self.

Look your best for photographs
Unlike photographs taken at events such as weddings or reunions, pictures from a vacation usually do not capture us looking our best. Yet we show them off for years to come. If you know you will be photographed at a special destination or a picturesque spot, make sure that your clothing does not clash with the backdrop. During my trip to India, on the day I visited the Taj Mahal I wore a cream-colored top and scarf that I knew would look great in the photo with the surroundings. This may sound like compulsive planning, but being photographed at one of the wonders of the world is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I knew that I was going to have those photos forever. You will be thankful for years to come by making sure that at times like these you are wearing something flattering and your hair and makeup look good.

Smart packing tip 1: How to select clothing for travel
Plan ahead and lay out your wardrobe on the bed to begin the “editing” process. I place my shoes on the floor near my potential outfits so that I can mix and match and see how everything works together. Omit items that you can do without to avoid overpacking. Think about ways to maximize what you have by pairing things and layering them, which should allow you to pack even less. For instance, bring a cardigan that can work with a skirt, pants, and a dress. Select a blouse that is versatile enough to go with the pants and the skirts you are bringing. And choose a pair of shoes that look good with all your outfits. Always pack flats for walking and heels for going out to dinner.

Smart packing tip 2: The space-saving, wrinkle-free packing solution
Because I often travel for work, I have gotten packing down to a science. Here is the most effective way to fit more items into carry-on luggage and ensure that they will not be wrinkled upon arrival. Instead of folding each garment, lay them out on top of each other and roll them into one large, compact parcel. Start with one article of clothing and smooth it out on a flat surface. Be sure to smooth away any wrinkles with your hands, since creases will lock into the fabric once it is packed. Place another piece of clothing on top of that one and smooth it out, and so on, stacking them like pancakes until you have assembled a nice flat stack. Fold in the sleeves on top of the pile and carefully roll the entire stack inward, as if it were a yoga mat, into one big roll. Your shoes (tucked in shoe bags) should be placed around the perimeter of your suitcase, with the roll of clothes in the middle. Compress it with your hands before closing the bag. Upon arrival, you will be surprised at how smooth your clothes have remained.

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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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Alison Sweeney’s 8 Fashion Tips for New Moms

When you’re tired and overwhelmed the first month at home with your new baby, being stylish isn’t exactly a priority, but doing something that makes you feel good can have a huge impact. Get tried-and-true advice from Alison Sweeney, host of The Biggest Loser and author of The Mommy Diet: A Month-by-Month Plan for a Healthy Body and Mind Before, During, and After Pregnancy.

1. Don’t expect to squeeze into your old clothes right away! Too-tight clothes are never attractive, so even if you can lie down and zip up your jeans with pliers, don’t. Have patience, and remember that it took you nine months to get up to the size you were when you had your baby, and it might take nine months to get back to your former size.

2. Hang on to a few of your favorite maternity pieces for a little while. Nothing tentlike, please, but maybe a great pair of jeans that look like normal designer jeans with an internal adjustable waistband, or a cute top from before you got really big. Yes, it’s tempting to burn the pregnancy clothes the minute you have your bundle of joy, but some of them might help you look good and feel comfortable during the transitional first month (or two or three).

3. Skip the superbaggy clothes. Baggy clothes aren’t hiding anything; they just look sloppy.

4. Wear dark colors, keep the silhouette simple, and avoid bright prints that call attention to themselves. (“Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers, don’t wear it,” Liza reminds me.)

5. Empire waists are still your best friends.

6. Buy two (affordable) bras at a time. Your bra size may change many times over the next few months, so don’t go out and buy a dozen bras at once, but have two that fit you well right now.

7. This is still not the time to invest in expensive clothes — your current size is not permanent. Look for inexpensively flattering pieces from stores like Target, and maybe a few trendy pieces from Forever 21, or borrow some cute pieces from friends who’ve gone through the same transitional period. (Other moms understand — and are usually happy to help out by lending clothes or giving you hand-me-downs.)

8. If you want to treat yourself to something, think about a cashmere wrap or cardigan that can cocoon you and still look good a size up from your normal size.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning actress Alison Sweeney, author of The Mommy Diet: A Month-by-Month Plan for a Healthy Body and Mind Before, During, and After Pregnancy (Copyright © 2011 by Alison J. Sweeney), balances life as a mom with her roles as host of NBC’s hit reality series The Biggest Loser and as Sami Brady on NBC’s long-running daytime drama Days of our Lives. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, a California Highway Patrol officer, and their five-year-old son, Ben, and two-year-old daughter, Megan.

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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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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.

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Perfect Postpartum Tops for New Moms

Whether you’re nursing or not, postpartum dressing can be tricky. For tops that fill all of a new mom’s dressing criteria — comfort, accessibility, and style — heed these figure-flattering ideas from Rock Star Momma: The Hip Guide to Looking Gorgeous Through All Nine Months and Beyond by Skye Hoppus.

THE ROCK STAR MOMMA’S GUIDE TO NURSING TOPS THAT ROCK

  • Easy Access: Need I say more?
  • Shapely Shirts: As your breasts fill up with milk, they’re obviously going to get bigger, so you want a shirt with stretch to accommodate your swelling bosom. And, once they’re emptied, your top should have memory — that is, it should readily move with you as your breasts expand and contract. There’s nothing worse than a top that looks stretched out and saggy.
  • Bra­-rific: Make sure your nursing tops afford you the ability to wear a nursing bra. You’ll not only want the support of a great nursing or sports bra to help keep you from sagging (with all of that swelling and contracting going on, now it’s more important than ever to give those breasts tons-o-support), but you’ll also want a good bra to help prevent leakage, as well. Line your bra with disposable breast pads and change them often.
  • All Buttoned Up: Button-­up blouses are a great way to go for nursing. They can be a little oversize to compensate for those pounds that still need to come off, while still looking cool, as long as the rest of your outfit is tailored and sleek.
  • It’s a Wrap: Wrap tops and dresses are fabulous for nursing! They offer great access and are truly flattering on any build. Stick to prints to help you look slimmer — and camouflage any milk stains. (Yep, I said milk stains!)

It’s that easy to find nursing tops that rock. Just a little creativity and an unwillingness to compromise on convenience is all you really need. Keep the same qualifications in mind for nighty-night time, as well. When it’s 3:00 a.m. and you’re in a sleep-slash-­breast­-feeding haze, you’ll want to have a nightgown or cami that provides comfortable accessibility for your little guy or gal, as well.

DON’T FORGET: CONVENIENCE
Remember, you are now operating heavy pieces of machinery (those would be your boobs!), which might feel somewhat foreign at first, but trust me, you WILL get used to them and the best piece of advice I can offer is to make it as easy as possible to be able to feed your baby when he or she is hungry. And you don’t have to sacrifice your sense of style…stretchy tanks, classy striped button­downs, and a quality nursing bra is a must­do combo for any nursing momma.

TRANSITION TOPS
If breast­-feeding isn’t your bag, no worries — that’s a personal choice and who can’t respect that? You’ve still got to get dressed and you’ve actually got one advantage over your nursing friends: after you get past the rather uncomfortable process of having your milk dry up, you don’t have to give a second thought to those boobs. So you’ve got a lot more options when it comes to transition tops. Check out these handy-dandy tips below for finding great tops for this transitional time that will help hide and flatter those trouble spots:

  • Lovin’ Loose: Up until now, I’ve pretty much shunned the idea of you ever wearing a looser top. The thing is, up until now you were pregnant and had a beautiful belly to show off. Now, rock star momma, you’ve got a belly that you want to get rid of. That’ll happen soon enough. But in the meantime, a little bit of loose is just what the doctor ordered to cover it up. Just pair with fitted pants to help even out the look, okay?
  • Just Jackets: A jacket over a tank top, a T-shirt, or a tube top is a great way to help conceal that curvaceous midsection. Just button one or two buttons right across the middle of your tummy to help cover up that bulge.
  • Tracksuit Couture: Tracksuit jackets are still your friend — and they always will be! Zip up with a bold-colored tracksuit jacket over jeans, a loose and long skirt, cargos, trackpants…just about anything to create a comfortably cool look that’ll help hide your newfound trouble spots.
  • Smock Tops: Tops with smocking can be very flattering and helpful in covering up that belly. Plus, in a bright, fun terry it can kick up any outfit from boring to brilliant!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Skye Hoppus, author of Rock Star Momma: The Hip Guide to Looking Gorgeous Through All Nine Months and Beyond (Copyright © 2007 by Rock Star Momma, LLC), is the founder and owner of Childish Clothing, the ultra-hip maternity and children’s clothing line. She is an accomplished designer whose clothes have dressed celebrity mommas and babes and graced the pages of major magazines. Wife to Mark Hoppus of blink-182 and +44 fame, Skye knows what it means to be a rock star momma. Prior to launching Childish, Skye graduated from Pepperdine University and headed the MTV West Coast Music Office for nearly a decade. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their four-year-old son.

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How to Make an Outfit That Works

In the same straight-talking style that has made TLC’s What Not to Wear a smash hit for eight seasons, Clinton Kelly shows women how to outfit themselves with confidence and style. From his book Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them.

I’ve heard so many people reminisce about Garanimals with longing and nostalgia. “Oh, life was so easy back then. You’d match the pants with the tiger tag to the top with the tiger tag and you’d be ready for school in no time! Man, those were the days.”

Is it just me or is matching rust-orange corduroys to a rust-orange polo shirt about as difficult as picking your eight-year-old nose? I mean, come on. If you can’t do this without the help of animal tags by the second grade, you need more than after-school tutoring.

Matching your top to your bottom makes you look simpleminded, completely out-of-date, or just plain old. Style has changed since the 1950s. It’s not about wearing the perfectly matching set as it is displayed on a mannequin. It’s about putting pieces together with your own twist.

Look, if you absolutely love a print that comes in both a blouse and a skirt, I suppose you could buy both pieces. But for the love of Lagerfeld, DO NOT WEAR THEM TOGETHER.

I know many women have a difficult time matching pieces, and that’s because things don’t need to “match,” they need to “go.” For example, forest green and sage green don’t match, but they go, so you can wear a sage green sweater with a forest green suede boot. Another example is gold and yellow; they don’t match, but you could wear a blouse that has some gold in the print with jeans and a yellow flat.

Speaking of jeans, they’re neutral, so any color or print works with denim. Other neutrals are black, gray, navy, brown, khaki, and white. Technically, any color goes with any neutral, and all neutrals go with each other. Some colors and neutrals pair better than others. A few combinations don’t work so well:

BLACK + ORANGE = Halloween
GREEN + ORANGE = Pumpkin
BLACK + YELLOW = Bumblebee
RED + GREEN = Christmas

And you may be wondering whether you can wear black and navy together or black and brown. The answer is yes and yes. The key to making both of those neutral combinations work is intention. A very dark navy blue that looks almost black paired with actual black will make it seem like you got dressed in the dark. But a lighter navy can be paired with black without a problem.

Black and brown have a similar relationship. Very dark chocolate brown is harder to pair with black than, say, a milk-chocolate brown. And I’ve found that the best way to combine black and brown is by using a print that contains both neutrals. Maybe you’ve got an abstract geometric print blouse that contains purple, black, and brown. You could wear it with black trousers (because there’s black in the print) and a brown jacket (because there’s also brown in the print).

When a woman tells me that she is absolutely hopeless at putting outfits together and still cannot grasp the concept of “going,” I advise her to keep all her bottoms neutral. If she owns:

  • A BLACK PENCIL SKIRT
  • GRAY TROUSERS
  • DARK-WASH JEANS
  • KHAKIS
  • AND/OR WHITE WALKING SHORTS

she’ll be hard-pressed to find a top that doesn’t go with at least one of those bottoms.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clinton Kelly is the cohost of TLC’s popular show What Not to Wear, a spokesperson for Macy’s, and a motivational speaker who has successfully talked thousands of women out of stirrup pants. He has worked as an editor at several noted fashion publications, including Marie Claire and Mademoiselle. In his book Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them (Copyright © 2010 by Clinton Kelly), Clinton points out the hundreds of fashion mistakes women most commonly make and describes how to fix them.

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