I cannot tell you how pleased I am to present a new feature here on What If No One's Watching! I plan to do as many of these as I can/as many as y'all are interested in, but they will be intermittent, not on a fixed schedule. Basically, I'm going to move something I've been doing for a long time, both online in person, to the blog. I'm going to give fashion/style/makeup advice. If you're interested in being featured, whether or not I already know you, just send your query and photograph to email@example.com, and I'll put you in the queue!
First up is my friend K. K. has this to say:
I'm a size 18 at old navy, but a size 20 most anywhere else. I'm 5'9"ish and I wear regular length. Also, my feet are not tiny. 10.5 W or 11 regular typically. I haven't set myself an official budget. I own 4 pairs of jeans that fit fairly well. Just plain "the flirt" from ON. Otherwise, I'm pretty hopeless. I need clothes that are put together and present me as being put together but casual, as well as a business casual look, and something more along the lines of interview/formal. I need to own khakis/black slacks for community course work starting soon (to go with a garnet polo). I need shoes and preferably a little cardigan type sweater to wear with it. More than anything, I want outfits that are tied together like yours are, with accessories that really make the outfit. I'm hitting the thrift shops during Spring Break in 2 weeks, but I don't even know where to start! I'm open to advise on best hair ideas and make up as well. I'm def. trying the foundation you recommend.
Isn't she gorgeous? What a great first model!
A few other things I know about K., which will influence the kinds of things I suggest:
-she's a busy mom of three little ones
-she's a soon-to-be-graduated nursing student
-she lives in a warm climate
The first thing K. requests as a put together casual look. Since she already has jeans she likes, I'll build a couple of looks around those:
-Old Navy The Flirt jeans
-Old Navy Women's Roll-Up Button-Front Top
-Old Navy Women's Two-Tone Sneakers
-Old Navy Women's Scarf-Print Tote
-Modcloth Great Horned Necklace
-BKE Beaded Slider Bracelet Set
This outfit works because it's very simple, but not sloppy. The button down tab-sleeved shirt is going to feel just like a t-shirt, but appear a bit more structured. The fun colorful sneakers will be comfortable, but still stylish. And the jewelry not only gives a sense of K.'s personality (she loves owls) but brings together some of the colors in the outfit and the bag. Even though it really is just jeans and a t-shirt, the jewelry, bag, and shoes all coordinate (but don't match)--which will give K. the "tied together" look she's after. With all the major pieces coming from Old Navy, this outfit is also really inexpensive (no single piece is more than $30 and most are far less) and easily accessible.
-Old Navy The Flirt jeans (just in dark wash this time)
-Old Navy Women's Pintucked Tunic
-Nine West Women's Loredana Flats
-Roxy 'Truthfully' Shoulder Bag
-Delia's Coral Tie-Dye Scarf
LC Lauren Conrad Gold-Tone Simulated Crystal & Simulated Pearl Floral Drop Earrings
Though this outfit appears slightly less casual than the previous one, it would be just as easy to wear. The flowy tunic top should be cool and comfortable, and it's self-belting so that K. can show off her wonderful curves. I love the brightly colored flats and I think a similar pair should be staple for K., who wants to be stylish but still be able to run around. Finally, I'm jazzed about the subtle pattern mixing with the pinstriped tunic and tie-dyed scarf. Once again, all the pieces here should be accessible and affordable, with the most expensive piece being the $40 Roxy bag (and you could easily get something similar at a thrift store or discount store for less money).
Next, K. requests business casual options:
Being who I am, I'm always going to suggest something vintage inspired. For K., I love a 50's looking ensemble based around a shirt dress. Though the whole look may be a little bit over the top for her, finding a plain colored shirt dress that fits her well would NOT be a waste of her time or money. This one is from eShakti, which I love for it's large size range and ability to be altered to measurements. Once K. has the dress, the rest is easy--just about any cardigan and statement necklace would work great. I've paired the dress with a kitten heel here, to make it a bit more formal, but flats would definitely work. And I couldn't resist getting a little bit of ditsy floral in with the clutch--I saw those at Target the other day and they are adorable.
-A Love So Sweet Curvy Plus Size Button Up Top
-Old Navy Women's Perfect Denim Pencil Skirt
-Blowfish Stella Ballet Flat
-Under One Sky Double Buckle Bag
-Zad Etched Flower Large Bracelet
-Peacock Feather Earrings
To put a lot more casual in her business casual, I strongly suggest K. invest in a super-versatile denim pencil skirt. I've paired this Old Navy version with a gorgeous belted tunic top and some slightly over-the-top jewelry. I love this look because it's very put together, but also really fun.
K. also needs a formal/interview look:
-eShakti Edge Pipe Trim Sheath Dress
-Old Navy Women's Plus Double-Weave Blazer
-Andiamo Women's Hallie Pump
-Timeless Black / White Cross Woven Weave Snap Closure Leatherette Satchel
-White House Black Market Blue Quatrefoil Short Necklace
-Metallic hoop earrings
I don't really know how formal interviews are in K.'s profession. What I do know is that I hate suits, and I hate suits especially on curvy women. Suits are still men's clothes, and they are most often not cut correctly to flatter or even accomodate curves. I've found two ways to dress myself for interviews or more formal business occasions without wearing a suit, and I'm suggesting those to K. The first is this look--a fitted blazer over a sheath dress. I love the way this looks--it's crisp and professional, but still feminine and curve-flattering. I love this black/white/royal blue palette, too--it's bold and take-charge looking but not gaudy in the least. At $60 for the dress and $37 for the jacket, it's also a lot cheaper than any suit that's going to fit.
-Old Navy Women's Plus Rib-Knit Tank
-Spiegel Plus Sizes Signature Matte Jersey Collection:Shirred Shawl-Collar Jacket
-AK Anne Klein Plus Size Trouser Leg Pant
-Nine West Plain Jane Print Handbag
-Briolette Agate Drop Earrings
-Madewell Flea Market Floral Scarf
The other interview option I've enjoyed is a colored or patterned fitted jacket over a plain black base (a black top with no embellishment and black trousers). I like the color combination in this version, which features a matte jersey jacket from Spiegel and a gorgeous silk scarf. I think it works because the color palette is kept pretty simple and the scarf is the focal point. I would not, however, try to pull this ensemble off for a super formal interview, or with flats.
Finally, K. needs something for her community course work:
-Old Navy Women's Fair Isle Tie-Belt Wrap Cardigan
-AE Uniform Polo
-Old Navy Women's Perfect Khakis
-Blowfish Women's Smooth Flat Shoe
-Mixed Bag Designs 720-700 Black & White Damask Zipper Tote
-Unique Vintage Glam Naturale Vintage Style Owl Necklace
-Wet Seal Braided Chain Bracelet
I really, really hate polo shirts. There is nothing you can do to keep them from looking like a uniform, because that's usually what they are. That said, I think this kinda works--the monochrome palette and fun jewelry keep it from looking like you just came from your shift at Target.
-AE Sailor Stripes Cardigan
-Old Navy Women's Pique Polo
-Gap Perfect khaki pants
-Delia's Taupe Messenger Bag
-Maylan's Vintage Style Multicolor Crystal Love Birds Necklace
-Women's Converse® One Star® Oxfords
If there is a way to make khaki pants (which I also hate for uniform-looking reasons) and a polo shirt to not look preppy and collegiate, I don't know what it is. So, I say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and go all out with the retro college vibe. The combination of the striped cardigan and the One-Star Converse actually have me kinda liking this. And I love love love that necklace.
So now that I've suggested a whole bunch of things for K, how realistic are they? Are they remixable? I came up with a couple of remixes:
How cute is this for a little-bit dressed up casual day?
I love the fun colors in this.
K. could even dress up her standby jeans with a jacket, scarf, and heels for night out!
So overall, what am I suggesting? Two things:
1. K. should invest in a few basic pieces that fit her well and make her comfortable. Ideally, these would include: a neutral suit jacket, khakis and/or black pants, a casual fabric (probably denim) pencil skirt, a fitted sheath dress and/or a flare skirted shirt dress, and several colored cardigans.
2. K. should use her thrift and discount shopping time and money to add things to her wardrobe that make her happy and show her personality--jewelry, scarves, fun shoes, bags, etc. It is amazing what a difference it makes just to have a few of these types of items you can mix in with your boring neutral clothes--they make what you're wearing feel and look like *you*.
I also think K. should look for colored shoes (colored shoes just make it look like you aren't playing it too safe with your wardrobe and I love that) and consider the figure-flattering options available with vintage reproduction clothes, especially dresses.
Now, on to the hair and makeup aspect of the question. I like K.'s hair the way it is--I think both the cut and the color suit her face very well and look easy to maintain. I wouldn't change a thing. For makeup, a woman with K.'s schedule needs an easy, doable routine. I'd start with either a tinted moisturizer or a cream foundation, depending on the level of coverage wanted. K. mentioned that she's going to try the Maybelline mousse foundation I mentioned last week, and that ought to be a great start. From there, I'd go with a neutral-ish blush, maybe something like Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Blush or Benefit Dandelion. I'd definitely use a correcting eyelid primer/concealer, since K. doesn't get much sleep--for my money, you absolutely can't beat Benefit Lemon Aid. K. can then use shadow and liner or not--if she wants to, I'd suggest a neutral and easily mix and matchable palette, like the Smashbox Eyeshadow Trio in Shutter Speed or Viewfinder, or, for a more economical option, the Physician's Formula Matte Collection Quad Eyeshadow in any of the available palettes, and a basic dark brown or plum liner, like MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil Bordeauxline or Stubborn Brown. Mascara is a must, and everybody has her own favorite--for K., I'd recommend a long-lasting, waterproof version, like Cargo Better than Waterproof. Finally, K. needs something for her lips--I really think nearly everybody looks better with a little lip color/shine. For both longevity and ease of application, I can't recommend Tarte Lipsurgence pencil lipsticks enough.
Whew! That turned out to be quite the project! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together! K., does this help? And everyone else, please drop me a line if you'd like to be featured! No question is too big or too small!