Fashion tips for the spring season

Often, as we mature – Don’t you like the way I say “mature” and not “get old”? – we are confused about how to dress.

We want to look cotemporary and sexy but not like we are shopping at Forever 21. Our bodies have changed and so has our ability to carry off newer fashions.

Coupled with that, our motivation has changed. For those of us who are retired or semi-retired, sometimes it just seems easier to wear some sweats and big T-shirts. Trust me, this outfit is not flattering and makes you look older and frumpy.

Well, worry no more. There are some great fashions that won’t break the bank are easy to put together and look great on the “over the young” crowd.

My go-to look this spring and summer involves flowy tops. They hide a multitude of sins but can still show off your attributes, like a long neck or nice shoulders. They come in a tank top, crew neck, cap sleeve and even three-quarter sleeves. They fit nicely in the shoulder area and some have an empire waist. They are available in all kinds of great colors, patterns and designs. “In” colors this year are corals, light pinks and different shades of blue.

One rule of thumb – especially important for petite woman – is to make sure to pair a flowy top with a closer fitting pant or jeans. Skip the side pockets on shorts, capris or pants. Unless you are slim, the pockets flare open – especially when sitting – and draw the eye to the area you’re usually trying to hide. Only models in the magazines can pull off a flowy top with palazzo pants. Now, that’s not to say that there is never a time to rock that outfit. For dressy affairs, you can absolutely pull off this look with a high heel.

When pairing a flowy top with shorts, make sure that there are at least three inches of the shorts showing. Otherwise, it will look like you forgot to put pants on! Keep the bottoms simple. Slim-fitting capris in a solid color are a great choice.

When pairing a pant or capris with a shorter top, don’t shy away from pockets in the back. Pockets on the derriere actually make your bottom look smaller by breaking up the eye focus, giving the illusion of curves. Keep the pockets on the outside and low. Again, we are talking optical illusion.

When choosing your outfit, never combine patterns. A great slimming technique is to have two similar colors next to one another. I call it the “rule of two.” If you make sure that you have two of the same color next to one another, it will be slimming. It can be your top and bottom, bottom and shoes – anyway you do it, just don’t forget the “rule of two.”

If you decide on a pretty patterned top – say, with a coral and light blue pattern – select a solid pair of pants picking up one of the colors. Adding shoes of the same color will draw the eye down and make you look slimmer.

Now for the shoes – a little heel goes a long way. It elongates the legs and defines the shape. There are lots of great sneakers available that are comfortable and fashionable. Keep the design slim, not workout style. Capri pants with a chunky shoe gives you a clam-digger look – never attractive.

Another flattering look on any figure is the wrap dress. Go to a store where a clerk or bring a friend to help you find the best cut for you. I have four wrap dresses that I can dress up or down.

What is important is the footwear. A shoe with a little platform gives the illusion of height, but the stress on your foot is less. There are also some great insoles out there that make shoes a lot more comfortable. A few name brands that offer great styles that are still comfortable are Softspots, Lulus and Naturalizer.

Stay away from ankle straps. They draw the eye and, unless you have slim ankles, make your calves look chunky. A little heel goes a long way. It elongates the legs and defines the shape.

A great flattering look is a sling back with a kitten heel. A pointy toe is more flattering with a dressy outfit.