February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Jim Scholz

I can’t tell you how many times people come to me with a question regarding whether or not they can wear a certain, usually trendy style of a jacket, pant, skirt, top, etc. My reply is always, “It depends on what you wear it with.”

Too many people follow the trends too closely, thinking that, in order to be fashionable, they have to wear what they see, as they see it. Fashion is a lot more forgiving than most people think. It’s more general than specific, more enabling than disabling. It’s “change” that you are in “charge” of! There are no fashion rules, just styling relationships to pay attention to.

When it comes to color, some people still believe there are only certain colors they can wear. The only colors that matter are the ones next to your face. I happen to look horrible in almost every shade of pink, but if I wear a shirt or a scarf in a flattering color under a pink sweater, pink works for me! I don’t look good in beiges either, but if I stack silver necklaces and wear silver earrings with beige, it goes from terrible to terrific on me. So if you’re worried that you won’t look good in emerald, the color of 2013, play with what you pair it with or limit emerald to your skirts and pants.

If you care about looking your best, your shape and the shapes of clothes you wear need to be compatible. Short women often tell me that they cannot wear long jackets. They usually determine that when trying them on over pants and skirts of a different color, which usually does make a short person look top-heavy and shorter. However, if you are short, the right long jackets can and will work over matching bottoms.

When it comes to skirts, the length makes a big difference. Length is always individual, and it varies according to what it’s worn with. Women with heavy lower legs usually look better in pants, but in fall and winter, they can wear dark tights and boots, and be confident about looking great in almost any skirt! In summer, ankle-length skirts with flat sandals are best.

The cut of your pants and jeans is very important. Never buy a pair of pants without examining how they look in back from a three-way mirror! Whether you can wear a wide leg, a tight leg, or a flared one depends more on what you wear it with than on the shape of you.

The shapes of what we wear shape us! I have proof of that. In 1991, when I was the Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation designer for the first time, the fashion look focused on waistlines. Pants, skirts, and dresses were wide-banded and belted at the waist. Almost all of the princesses and countesses had small waistlines. In 1997, when I did the ball again, fashion hadn’t changed enough to make much of a difference in body shapes. By 2002, when jeans were worn at the hip and below, girls had lost the definition of a waistline. Even thin and tiny girls had waist measurements considerably larger than those of girls their size in 1991. My relationship advice based on that is “beware of the comfort zone.” Clothes that are too comfortable are dangerous not only after a person is 60, but always!

I welcome your feedback and invite you to send questions to sixtyplus@omahapublications.com.

Mary Anne Vaccaro lives in Omaha. She designed and made couture clothing for an international clientele of professionals and socialites of all ages. She created ready-to-wear collections that were sold from her New York showroom, and she designed for the bridal industry. She designed for three Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Balls and ran a fashion advertising business in five states for a number of years. Invisible Apron® is one of several products that she has designed and developed. She still designs for select clients and works as an image consultant, stylist, personal shopper, and speaker on the subjects of fashion, art, and style. For more information, visit maryannevaccaro.com or call 402-398-1234.

 

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