Bridgette Raes Style Group Newsletter Annex

Enjoy reading all of our past Bridgette Raes Style Group newsletter articles here

Friday, June 16, 2006

Looks Like Chicken

By Bridgette Raes

As many of you know, I am famous for coining terms or phrases to help clients and readers of this newsletter better understand how to dress. Terms like “wishful wardrobing”, “Where are you going in that?” and “The Color Tripleplay” are terms that I have used so often that now I hear my clients using them just as frequently. I have compared certain colors to trusted friends and reference other colors as the popular friends. Yes, I will do whatever it takes to make a concept more tangible. It isn’t that I think any of my clients (or any of you who tune in to read this newsletter) are dim when it comes to getting dressed; I have simply found that sometimes an analogy is all that is needed when it comes to helping someone learn a new concept.

My most recent analogy is comparing clothing to chicken. I have used this comparison so many times in the past month that I thought it would be useful to share it with you. Now I can hear all of you thinking, “What is she talking about, clothing is like chicken?” So let me explain. Clothing is like chicken because, like chicken, you have to do something to your clothing to make it interesting. Think about chicken; on its own, chicken is boring and tasteless. If you were to just stick chicken in a pot of boiling water and eat it, how bland would it be? What makes chicken tasty is what you add to it. Clothing is exactly the same; by itself, with nothing interesting added, it is bland.

Many people, when getting dressed, do what’s comparable to sticking chicken in a pot of boiling water and eating it. No wonder most of my clients reach out to me in the first place feeling stuck, bored or uninspired. Most of my clients are hardly fashion nightmares, they simply are not adding anything to their wardrobe to make it tasty. When they learn how to do that, it is as though they have reached into the spice rack and learned how to make gems out of what they already own.

How can you turn your bland, chicken-like wardrobe into a tasty main dish? Here are some examples of some basics that many women wear, with some suggestions of how to add some spice.

The white shirt

The white shirt is as chicken-like as you can get. Be it a T-shirt or a white button-down, without something added it’s just a white shirt. Instead of just putting on a white shirt with your pants, explore these options:

•Pop your collar on a white shirt to make it more stylish
•Throw on a colorful necklace
•Find that funky bracelet tucked away in the bottom of your jewelry box or find a statement piece of jewelry at the local flea market that makes for a great conversation starter
•Layer another color over your white T shirt
•Grab a slim denim jacket or great khaki blazer and finish the look.

Black pants and a colored top

This look is as tired and pedestrian as it gets. But, alas, it is the most popular. To be less non-descript, finish the look with the following options:

•Ditch the boring handbag and uninspired black shoes and go for a funky bag and statement shoes
•Instead of black, try a light brown shade (like a pair of tan or luggage pair of shoes and handbag); this elevates the look tremendously
•Find a third color that you can wear back to create the color triple play. Example, if you are wearing a black pair of pants and a lavender sweater, go for a green handbag or fun green necklace
•Get a fun belt or pair of beaded or novelty sandals
•Ditch the black pants once and for all, and remember that whatever color you can wear with black, you can wear with any other neutral bottom. Some basic neutral bottom shades are brown, camel, tan, grey, olive, or navy. A black bottom is heavy and stark, but a softer neutral bottom makes it a more complete look.

T shirt and a pair of cargos

The staple casual look is a pair of cargos or cotton capri pants; but beware, this look can put even a highly caffeinated person to sleep if it doesn’t have elements of fun involved. Try the following to be more eye catching:

•Wear a pink T shirt and a pair of olive cargos. What about colorful flip flops in a darker pink?
•Try some natural colored jewelry like wood or leather to finish this more casual look
•Grab a printed scarf belt to bring some in some interest. Imagine a green T-shirt with brown cargos. Find a long scarf belt with some green in the print, along with some other colors to pop it
•Grab that denim jacket and throw a more fancy pin on the pocket to elevate the look
•Go for a cool trainer sneaker that is a standalone statement.

An all neutral outfit

Head to toe black or shades of brown is a wonderful monochromatic look. This is also your opportunity to punch in whatever color you want. A neutral base is the ultimate opportunity to really add a splash of color. Try the following:

•Add a turquoise (or any color you like) necklace to a head-to-toe tonal brown outfit
•Choose a fun red shoe to an all black look
•Pop a head-to-toe neutral with an interesting and colorful jacket to create a column look, very slimming
•Find that great brooch. When you create a neutral base it gives a statement accessory the opportunity to shine
•Try a colored or novelty handbag instead of one to match.

Basics are the chicken of the wardrobe world

I am a huge proponent of basics over too much novelty when it comes to purchasing your clothing. Most of your novelty should be found in the pieces you add versus your clothing. Novelty clothing is fine, but it is more of an accessory than it is a piece of clothing, so keep it to a minimum. Basics have more mix and match options, they last longer trend-wise and give women the ability to do more with less. However, when buying and wearing basics always keep in mind that you have only created your base or your foundation; like chicken, it’s a strong starting point but without some flavor you are denying yourself the opportunity to stand out in the crowd. When it comes to clothing, it’s what you do to it that matters.

(c) 2005 Bridgette Raes Style Group

Signup for our weekly newsletter where we not only offer weekly style article written by Bridgette Raes, but also include Style Q&A, Upcoming events, advice from our resident "What To Do Girl", organizing, beauty and financial tips by visiting