Try This: 5-Minute Skin Detox Treatment

For glowing, soft, healthy skin, try this simple Eastern medicine technique. From Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self, by acclaimed hair and makeup artist Eva Scrivo.

Dry brushing of the skin has been practiced in Eastern medicine for centuries as a form of exfoliation and to increase circulation and lymph drainage as well as to assist in the elimination of toxins through the skin. On a purely aesthetic level, dry brushing once a week will also give you glowing, soft, healthier skin.

To do this quickly and efficiently, you will need two natural-bristle body brushes that can comfortably fit in the palm of each hand. Before getting into the shower, vigorously brush your skin using sweeping strokes over your entire body. Since dry brushing helps to improve circulation, your strokes should be in the direction of the heart — upward on the legs and arms and downward from the neck and chest. Your skin will start to look pink, but because of the soft natural bristles, the sloughing is gentle and feels invigorating. Brush over the skin for a few minutes, then get into the shower or bath. The steam helps your skin to eliminate the toxins that the dry brushing has brought to the surface, while the water rinses off the dead skin cells.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva Scrivo, author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confidential Self (Copyright © 2011 by Eva Scrivo), is one of today’s most well known and respected names in beauty. She is a highly acclaimed hair and makeup artist, radio show host, television personality, and an entrepreneur who owns a successful salon in New York City.

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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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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

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.

MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR

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6 Style “Don’ts” and How to Fix Them

Clinton Kelly, the cheeky cohost of TLC’s popular show What Not to Wear, offers detailed and entertaining critiques of six of women’s top style mistakes and practical suggestions for fixing them. From his book Oh No She Didn’t, a delightful mix of hilarious dish and expert fashion advice

GAP IN THE BACK
The most common alteration I do for my clients, besides hemming pants and sleeves, is fixing Gap in the Back, a problem of which you are all too aware if you carry your weight in your hips and/or rump but have a relatively small waist. Yes, it’s a drag when things don’t fit perfectly off the rack, but that doesn’t mean you should settle. People with great style don’t settle! When I see a woman who has chosen to walk around with all that extra room in the back of her pants, I wonder why she doesn’t make good use of it — you know, treat it as a marsupial-esque ass-pouch for storing her belongings, like a turkey sandwich and a romance novel.

Gap in the Back is really nothing to get yourself worked up about. When you find pants that fit you beautifully everywhere except in the waist, buy the damn things. Then find someone who knows how to sew. A small gap can be fixed with a little nip in the center of the waistband. A larger gap can be closed with two darts on the waistband, one over each butt cheek. When you get the pants back — voilà — they’ll fit and you’ll feel silly for whining about how pants never fit you.

FIDGETING
You can be wearing the cutest freakin’ outfit in the whole world, but you’ll look a helluva lot less beautiful if you spend half the night adjusting your bra straps and picking a wedgie out of your butt.

People with True Style:

  1. Wear flattering clothes
  2. Behave appropriately
  3. Exude confidence

Fidgeting or fussing with a garment is a sign that something doesn’t fit (that’s strike number one) or that you don’t have the confidence or composure to successfully pull off the look you’re trying to achieve (strikes two and three).

If it’s a question of fit, you must determine the reason the garment doesn’t stay put — and fix it. Is your skirt riding up your thighs? It’s probably too tight. Maybe it can be let out. If not, you need to let it go. Does your strapless dress keep sliding down the boobies? Well, if you have to hoist it up every two minutes, the bodice is too loose! So have it taken in. Or, here’s a brilliant idea, wear a dress with straps next time. Whatever the reason, figure it out and do something about it.

If you’re fidgeting due to a lack of confidence, it might be because you haven’t found your true style just yet. But I’ll give you a piece of advice: Confidence can be faked. Just take a deep breath, relax, smile, and be in the moment. Before long, you won’t have to fake it anymore. Or you can just take a beta-blocker. Your choice.

GIVEAWAY AND SLOGANED T-SHIRTS
You walked a 5K. Congratu-freakin’-lations. How about you just tell people you strolled the hopping 3.125 miles instead of wearing the free, one-size-fits-all cotton tee they gave you at the finish line.

You attended a huge family reunion and your third cousin-in-law made a commemorative shirt. News flash: Nobody gives a rat’s ass.

Your parents went to Aruba and all you got was this lousy T-shirt. That is so funny. Tell your parents you’re going to wear that shirt the day you check them into the nursing home.

Whether you were given a T-shirt or had a momentary brain fart and bought one, I urge you to really think about: a. what it’s doing for your body — probably nothing good — and, b. what it says about you — probably that you don’t have one original thought rattling around in that brain of yours.

Are there funny statement tees in the world? Sure. Are there well-made ones? Yeah. Are there well-fitting ones? You betcha. But the vast majority — we’re talking 99.99 percent of all sloganed or giveaway T-shirts — are lame-o, unflattering, and of poor quality.

Oh, one more thing: If you think it’s funny to walk around in public wearing a T-shirt detailing the twenty-seven ways you can use the F-word, you are a loser and should be sterilized.

OUTDATED PATTERNS
If you were house hunting and you found one with an avocado green refrigerator, a pink toilet, and a bunch of brass trim, you’d probably laugh about it later with friends. Well, I do the same thing when I see a woman wearing chintz, except I don’t wait until later. It’s like Tourette’s — I can’t help it.

Outdated patterns make you look out of touch with society and can age you at least a decade. Of course, retro patterns often become trendy, but they’re usually done in modern cuts and in modern fabrics. More often, over the course of any given decade or so, prints will develop a general feeling to them. For example, in the recent past, florals have trended away from looking like literal renditions of flowers and moved toward the abstract. And painterly prints have been gaining popularity.*

To look modern you have to shop on a regular basis in trendy stores and occasionally pick up a magazine to see what fashionable people are wearing!

*As this book was going to press, little pink & purple rosebud florals (á la “Little House on the Prairie”) became all the rage. Who can keep up with this crap?! You can!

DOUBLE BUBBLE (OR, THY CUPS RUNNETH OVER)
The next time you want to give a man a piece of your mind for staring at your boobs, make sure the reason he’s looking at your rack is not that he’s wondering why you have four breasts instead of two. Double bubble occurs when a woman with a decent-size chest wears a bra that is too small, and then tops it off with a clingy knit. Disaster!

Ladies, ladies, ladies. How many times do I have to tell you this? You must have a professional bra fitting every two years, even if your weight has remained constant, or anytime you gain or lose a minimum of ten pounds. I can almost guarantee that after a professional bra fitter gets her hands on your bingo-bongos, you will discover that you are bigger in the cup and smaller in the band than you had previously thought. I know this because I have performed approximately one thousand booby makeovers in the past seven years. (See Low Boobies.)

And don’t confuse lingerie with supportive undergarments. The same bra you wear in the bedroom to get your partner’s blood flowing is not the same bra you wear to work.

CROPPED PANTS
Women ask me constantly, “What do you have against cropped pants?” The truth is, I’m kind of fine with cropped pants — when they look good. But they rarely do. I am beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt convinced that the vast majority of women buy them because their length is one less thing to worry about. “Well, they fit in the waist! It doesn’t matter what length they are.” That makes about as much sense as Carrot Top’s new face.

You can’t just go around wearing pants any length you want! It doesn’t work that way. Try to achieve one of the following lengths, or your look will have that neither-here-nor-there quality I find so damn annoying.

  • Full-length pants should rest about a half an inch off the floor in the back.
  • Full-length jeans should rest about a quarter of an inch off the floor in the back.
  • Skinny jeans should hit at the ankle or be worn stacked (pushed up).
  • Pedal pushers should hit just below the kneecap.
  • Walking shorts hit just above the kneecap.
  • Clamdiggers are meant to hit at midcalf.
  • Ankle pants should be cropped just above the ankle bone.

The shorter and wider you are, the more likely you are to look like Spanky from the “Little Rascals” in a cropped pant. Wear Bermuda shorts or long pants instead!

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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