Headed to the beach, looking chic…

My 5 Tips for The Denver Post this month are all about your summer getaway to a beach (or pool) destination.  Please click the link to view the article:

The Denver Post “5 Tips: Advice on packing for a beach vacation”

What to pack for summer vacation

1. For the beach                                                                                                                        • A swimsuit that flatters your figure is a good investment. Look for a style with built-in shapewear to flatter your bustline or minimize your tummy.                                                        • Shorts and a top will work as a cover-up, but the ease and simplicity of a dress style adds a sophisticated and even glamorous note.                                                                                     • Sunglasses are important, so protect your eyes and add a little movie star appeal at the same time.                                                                                                                                   • A big straw hat can act as your own personal umbrella to keep the sun off your face.           • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen offering protection from both UVA and UVB rays. If you need to look tan, use a self-tanning lotion before getting to your destination.

2.  One piece                                                                                                                              • Dresses are an easy option, but mix up the styles: Go long for day and short for night. A casual belted maxi dress is a relaxed, comfortable daytime look. For evening, show off that fake tan with an above-the-knee shift and strappy sandals.

3.  A leg up                                                                                                                           Shorts come in all shapes, sizes and fabrics: cropped or Bermuda-style, printed or solid. Go by what looks best on your figure and legs. Not comfortable in shorts? Try capris in khaki or a range of colors.

4. Top it off
• T-shirts will lend versatility to your wardrobe. Pack modal/spandex blend styles in flattering colors. Avoid designs with sayings or logos that scream “tourist” or look juvenile.
• A knit tank top on a toned upper body looks great with a flowy skirt; just be sure to wear the right bra or use a bra clip to conceal your straps if it’s a halter or racer-back style.
• If you like blouses, try a loose-cut printed style paired with slim shorts or capri pants.
• A sweater might be the only cover you need on breezy nights. Try an open-knit linen style to throw over a dress or top, or a cardigan for air-conditioned restaurants and airplanes.

5.  Accessories
• A beach tote is a necessity. If you can’t pack a huge straw bag, fold a soft canvas one or a waterproof mesh bag into your luggage.
• A handbag in a bright color works for your carry-on and sightseeing adventures. If you’ve got the room, tuck a clutch style inside your handbag for travel. Then wear it solo for evenings out.
• A skinny metallic belt looks good with shorts and capris; a wide one in brown leather will work with your maxi dress.
• Try a big airy, gauzy scarf to make your shorts and tank look instantly chic and also help take the chill off of aggressive air conditoning.
• Two to three pairs of shoes should do it. Try open, strappy flat sandals for the beach, the maxi dress and casual daytime excursions; and strappy heels for night. Lightweight tennis shoes are great for walking. Try the ones that look like ballet flats. (Reserve your cross trainers for sessions at the gym.)
• Finally, pack a few jewelry items, such as a statement necklace in a wooden, tribal style. Or try glam-girl gold mixed with hot colors; these pieces will pair nicely with your dresses and your casual looks, too. Pile on bracelets for added style.

Shop it:
Do you have comments, questions or suggestions?  Post them right here on the Lefort Style Report!

Freshen your wardrobe with florals

This month my 5 style tips for The Denver Post focused on floral prints and ways of wearing them.  Please click the link and check out the article!  (Then come back here for more, and post your questions and comments!)  And remember to subscribe to The Lefort Style Report blog for style tips!

The Denver Post: “Five tips: How to wear floral prints this summer”

Memorial Day has passed (and yes–now you can officially wear white! ….That’s if you actually adhere to this strict fashion rule of days past.)  So let’s celebrate the warm weather, the gardens blooming around us and the anticipation of summer by infusing our wardrobes with a burst a florals.   Of course for those who are wary of the potentially busy patterns, remember that it doesn’t have to be head to toe in table cloth manner; instead, incorporate printed florals in small amounts that are just enough to freshen up your outfit.  Check out the fashion collage for ideas that you can replicate at home, and read on for the specifics…

Brighten up with florals!
1/ Brighten up!

If your wardrobe is filled with mostly solids, especially in dark colors, then adding a surge of summer with a fun floral can be just what’s needed for building an interesting outfit, injecting some personality to your look, and even providing a little extra joy to your day.  For example, a sleeveless floral blouse (and even a colorful belt) could be a perfect accompaniment to your business suit while remaining professional.  A floral blouse could also pair nicely with jeans to dress them up for casual Friday or Friday night out.    Additionally, try switching out your solid pencil skirt for a printed cotton sateen pencil skirt in a floral pattern. Then pair your printed skirt with a solid tee and cotton blazer for a chic, stylish warm-weather look.  Add a stylish necklace and closed-toe pumps for a polished, professional look.

 2/ Tone it down

Although floral patterns can be bright, bold and busy, you can easily tone down your floral pattern and über-feminine feeling by adding a little bit of “edge” to your look.  For example, top a floral dress with a cool jacket or vest, that just might channel a bit of rugged, utilitarian or tough-girl attitude.   Think a pinkalicious, petal-patterned floral frock, then throw on a cropped, fitted denim jacket, a motorcycle style jacket, or a lightweight anorak.  Instantly cool!   Or if it’s just too hot for the jacket, try topping your dress with an earth-toned leather belt instead.

3/ Big flowers, small flowers

The scale of the floral pattern should align with the frame of the figure wearing it.   A large floral pattern can overwhelm a petite lady.  A miniature pattern can look too dainty on a woman with a larger frame.  Other factors to consider are the placement of the patterns and the contrast of the colors.    If the floral is not in a pattern that repeats all over the garment, then beware of which part of the figure is being highlighted by the placement of the print on the body.  And keep in mind that bright, bold colors as well as high-contrast color combinations will draw more attention and potentially add more width to the figure, compared to lower contrast, darker or more tonal combinations.

4/ Floral pants?

Really?  You may have seen this trend in the store windows and magazines, but thought “no way—I’ll skip that trend.”  (And if you’d like to deter attention away from the lower part of your figure then you’re right, skip this one).  Otherwise, yes this trend can be done tastefully.  It just depends upon the colors, contrast, scale and the overall outfit.  Go for a floral pant in a softer palette and try pairing with a long top.  If you picture your figure divided into thirds, picture the lower third (from about the mid-thigh, down) showing your floral pant.  Think slim-cut soft floral jean with long tunic and khaki cotton belted trench jacket that skims the thigh.  Then go for an open sandal in a nude or soft metallic.  The only wow factor should be the pants, and the rest of the outfit toned down and cool.  And if you’ve got the gams, girly floral shorts are your “barbecue-chic” must-have.

 

5/ Accessorize with florals!

Accessories are a fabulous way to add a feminine touch to your look in a subtle, unexpected manner.  Pair your wardrobe staple black pants with a floral shoe, and wow!   Or try some floral flats with your slim cut jeans, tailored Bermuda shorts or solid skirt.  Add instant flair to your look by mixing a floral clutch bag with a solid cocktail dress.   And, of course, effortlessly tossing on a silky floral scarf with a simple outfit may just channel that inner Parisian in you.

Shop the looks:

Do you have style questions, comments or ideas?  Please share!  I would love to know if you found this blog post (or our other posts) helpful.  You can enter comments after the blog post, or you can post a style conundrum on the “Style Advice” page of the blog.  And subscribe now to receive style tips from The Lefort Style Report!

Colored Denim! (And ways to wear it…)

This month my Five Tips for the Denver Post are about colored denim- it’s a hot trend this spring so I wanted to share some ways of wearing it.  Check out the brief article in the Denver Post and then come back here to read more and see lots of outfits!  Enjoy!  (And please click the “Subscribe” link on the top right of your screen to receive blog posts with style tips every month!)

Five tips:   (Click to see the article) Today’s Denver Post Five Tips: “How to best wear colorful spring denim”

More tips…

It may be spring, but if your weather is anything like Colorado, you know not to put away your jeans just yet. And good news – the delightfully exuberant colored-denim trend has been a great way to transition your wardrobe from winter to spring, and remains a fun alternative to regular blue jeans as the weather warms up. The head-to-toe bright color blocking that’s everywhere in spring magazines may seem intimidating, but done right, colored denim is a deceptively easy trend to wear: keeping the look sophisticated by using soft shades and tonal color blocking is the key. With options in every hue of the neutral, pastel, and bright rainbows, you’ll no doubt find a color (or three) that flatters you. Be prepared to hear a lot more of, “I love your outfit! I wish I could wear that.”

Colored Denim Jeans
Colored denim jeans paired with patterns

Neutrals. These are the perfect starting point for the trend-wary. Not only do they play well with every color already in your closet, but color blocked with other muted shades like cinnamon or mauve, neutral jeans offer the same casual elegance as a monochromatic outfit.

Speaking of playing well together, camel denim also offers a great opportunity to incorporate coral into your outfit – spring’s hottest shade. A classic blazer and printed scarf in this juicy hue give your black staples the boot until next fall.

Pastels. Easter-egg hues are a fresh alternative to white. Complement buttery yellow cropped jeans with a stone-colored wrap cardigan, gold jewelry, and a smart structured wooden clutch. Or top peach denim with a frothy tiered lace tank top under an oatmeal cardigan – more creative tonal color blocking.

Brights. Not for the timid, neons and brights borrowed from the 1980s are the boldest choice for colored denim. Tomato-red jeans add punch to a soft peach tie-neck blouse, while navy and turquoise tops perfectly complement cool ocean-hued bottoms. Channel lush flower fields in bloom with a purple-and-lavender ensemble, or go pretty in pink with head-to-toe magenta and deep rose. To avoid a little too much ’80s nostalgia when accessorizing your brights, forgo black and instead go with modern neutrals and metallics.

Pattern. For a chic alternative to tonal color blocking, pair bright jeans with a pattern in an unexpected dark neutral, like bright pink with a nautical navy-and-white striped knit top, to keep the denim grounded.  Keep the look pulled together with accessories that match one of the contrasting hues – a mixed-print polka-dot and striped scarf in the same navy and white will instantly add that extra little something to your outfit.

Keep in mind…Colored denim deliberately brings attention to your bottom half. If that’s not your favorite feature, this is a good trend to skip. However, for the adventurous, a deep jewel tone like eggplant or teal will still slim and flatter your hips – nobody can tell you not to have fun!

Shop the looks:

Lauren Ralph Lauren tan cardigan
£135 – johnlewis.com

Silvian Heach purple top
€75 – welikefashion.com

AllSaints cotton cardigan
$130 – allsaints.com

Green top
€70 – welikefashion.com

Ralph Lauren scoop neck blouse
£89 – farfetch.com

By Malene Birger silk tie neck blouse
£209 – farfetch.com

Tiered tank
$22 – amazon.com

Uniqlo short sleeve tee
£15 – uniqlo.com

Wallis denim jean jacket
$56 – wallisfashion.com

MiH Jeans denim skinny jeans
$184 – piperlime.gap.com

MICHAEL Michael Kors zipper jeans
$80 – nordstrom.com

Habitual skinny leg jeans
$225 – nordstrom.com

Talbots denim cropped jeans
$80 – talbots.com

MICHAEL Michael Kors zipper jeans
$80 – nordstrom.com

MICHAEL Michael Kors zipper jeans
$80 – nordstrom.com

7 For All Mankind yellow jeans
$198 – bloomingdales.com

ZELDA JEAN LEGGING
express.com

Chloé slip on shoes
$450 – net-a-porter.com

Topshop flat shoes
$44 – topshop.com

Azzedine Alaia suede high heels
€810 – montaignemarket.com

DV by Dolce Vita silver shoes
$47 – heels.com

Steve madden handbag
$98 – zappos.com

Summer straw handbag
$50 – warehouse.co.uk

Stella McCartney snakeskin handbag
$1,295 – stellamccartney.com

Zara bag
$30 – zara.com

Bottega veneta handbag
$2,320 – barneys.com

French Connection brown handbag
£112 – vanmildert.com

Oversized clutch
$20 – dsw.com

Kate spade necklace
$148 – piperlime.gap.com

Wallis copper necklace
$28 – wallisfashion.com

Disc necklace
£20 – fashionunion.com

SHANKA resin jewelry
$256 – notjustalabel.com

Miso acrylic necklace
£12 – republic.co.uk

MTWTFSS Weekday copper jewelry
$12 – weekday.com

Wallis copper jewelry
$3.50 – wallisfashion.com

Kenneth Jay Lane cuff bangle
$112 – charmandchain.com

Banana Republic sparkle jewelry
$45 – bananarepublic.gap.com

Metal jewelry
$38 – nordstrom.com

Kate spade jewelry
$98 – katespade.com

Floral shawl
$36 – topshop.com


Donna Karan black and white top
$1,180 – stylebop.com

Bird by Juicy Couture graphic tank
£50 – theoutnet.com

Ralph Lauren stripe shirt
£110 – farfetch.com

Slimming pants
express.com

Castaner bow heels
$163 – boutique1.com

Carvela shoes
£130 – debenhams.com

Yves Saint Laurent studded handbag
£2,765 – net-a-porter.com

Mulberry oversized handbag
$1,550 – lagarconne.com

Balenciaga string bag
$1,545 – balenciaga.com

Yves Saint Laurent leopard scarve
£660 – harrods.com

Bajra oversized scarve
$298 – intermixonline.com

Oasis striped scarve
$17 – oasis-stores.com

Polished Jet Set

Dressing for travel seems to beg the tradeoff: comfort or style? No girl ever got an upgrade in a tracksuit, but sitting through a five-hour flight in a buttoned-up suit with off-the-charts wrinkle potential sounds quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, jet-set style gets a makeover with a range of chic new options. The comfort-or-style conundrum for air travel?  So yesterday. The basics are below.

Polished Jet Set

Layering. Prepare for any cabin temperature and destination climate with plenty of lightweight layers. A wool wrap (think pashmina or cashmere) that doubles as a blanket is a must-have, unless you think the germs that reside on airline-issue covers go great with your eyes. Merino cardigans, thin pullovers, and turtlenecks all make great options, and a blazer or structured jacket pulls everything together.

Comfortable But Polished. Believe it or not, you can have both. Make ponte-knit pants your go-to bottoms for air travel. The thicker, stretchy knit provides all the comfort of leggings with the structure of denim.  Additionally, a mid-rise jean with its stretch built-in can provide comfort and style.  Boot-cut options can flatter fuller figures wonderfully, and a blazer on top will add structure to slim any silhouette.  Even if your blazer is placed overhead during flight, you’ll feel first-class and polished during your airport adventures.

The airport is one of the (very few) occasions where you may want to hang up the high heels – running for a flight in them is not fun, especially while you’re weighed down with luggage. Riding boots and ballet flats are your best friends here.  (Although I just had to show you a chic heeled bootie option for those of you who dare…they could always be packed for wearing on arrival.)

You can even get creative with your top layer. Have the best of both worlds in structure and comfort with a knit boyfriend blazer (shown above in black), which won’t wrinkle on the plane. Or a long belted merino cardigan offers a chic alternative to a jacket, and is relaxed enough to pile on the layers underneath comfortably.

Smart Storage.
For short excursions, three basic bags will take the stress off packing. Stow what you don’t need for the flight in a chic carry-on weekend tote. A small cross-body bag keeps the essentials like your driver’s license, cell phone, boarding pass and credit cards handy, and fits easily into a larger satchel that holds everything else you need inflight (like that pashmina wrap – hint, hint).   For longer trips, check what you can and lighten your load with just your cross-body bag and satchel.

Shop It

MICHAEL Michael Kors long cardigan
$376 – my-wardrobe.com

Long sweater
£444 – farfetch.com

Crewneck sweater
£24 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Mint Velvet cashmere tunic
£69 – johnlewis.com

Roberto Cavalli military jacket
$761 – net-a-porter.com

Knit blazer
$40 – tillys.com

Hudson jeans
$350 – stylebop.com

J Brand straight leg jeans
$165 – net-a-porter.com

Oasis low rise legging
£15 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Cordani leather boots
$483 – zappos.com

Isola high heel boots
$120 – lordandtaylor.com

Lillybee ballerina flat
$168 – simplysoles.com

Pratesi trolley luggage
$2,300 – forzieri.com

Louis vuitton bag
bagborroworsteal.com

Givenchy genuine leather handbag
$2,030 – barneys.com

Gucci leather shoulder bag
£915 – profilebrighton.co.uk

Genuine leather handbag
£169 – johnlewis.com

Marc by marc jacobs handbag
$380 – my-wardrobe.com

Crossbody handbag
$23 – dsw.com

Monet earrings
£17 – debenhams.com

Fringed shawl
795 DKK – stylepaste.com

Dorothy Perkins square scarve
$17 – dorothyperkins.com

Faux fur shawl
£25 – coast-stores.com