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OUTER BEAUTY: Tips from Goldilocks about choosing your spring wardrobe

The colors and graphics on clothing this spring range from graphic and bright to vintage florals and romantic pastels. Just because an outfit looks great on the cover of Vogue or on the store mannequin, doesn't mean that it will look great on you. Here are some easy tips from Goldilocks on how to avoid being a fashion victim and choose the most flattering styles for you.

  1. Try it on, and while you are at it, try on some other outfits that are similar but vary in styling, print or color. Making a decision can be easier when you have choices to compare. This one is too bright, this one is too dull, this one is just right!
  2. The squint test. Have you ever seen an artist at work standing back from their canvas and squinting their eyes? What they are doing is blurring the details and getting an overview of their work. In this way they can see what stands out and what disappears; if the composition is balanced: and if the colors work. Just like "not seeing the forest for the trees", we often need a different perspective in order to see if an outfit works for us.
    Here is how to take the squint test:
    Back up from the mirror so you can see from head to toe if not more. Squint your eyes and ask yourself -  What stands out the most? -  Your face? -  Your clothes? -  Your hair? -  Your shoes? -  The right answer is that you should be the one wearing the outfit, not the outfit wearing you. If all you see is your clothes, the outfit doesn't pass the test.
    But don't give up yet! Before you return your outfit to the rack try these tricks:
    If the fabric is overpowering:
    • Turn up the volume on your makeup - try a darker lipstick and some more eye makeup. It will bring YOU out into the picture.
    • Try a different hairdo - Long hair worn loose can spoil a neckline and make prints look busier or, sometimes letting your hair down will provide a needed transition. Add a headband with color, or some bold sunglasses to top it off.
    • Try on a hat - If you have light hair and skin and the outfit you crave is making you look washed out, even with your makeup, a hat.may bring the needed balance.
    • If "you" look nice but the top or bottom of the outfit is overpowering the other half, add something bold to balance it. Top too loud? Add a stronger solid skirt, pants, shorts or shoes. Bottom too loud? Balance with a brighter top, or accessories (scarf, bold jewelry, big sunglasses or a hat).
    If the fabric disappears:
    • Accessorize! Try a bold belt; a scarf, some stand-out jewelry or shoes.
    • Play down your hair and makeup (as long as this doesn't wash you out with the fabric).
    • Try on a hat - If you have light hair and skin and the outfit you crave is making you look washed out, even with your makeup, try a hat.
    • Add another article of clothing. The layered look is "in" so add a top or jacket, a vest or tunic to make it richer and more lively.

                            DO THESE WOMEN PASS THE SQUINT TEST?
  3. Get a second opinion. If you are shopping alone and want a second opinion, don't just ask that vague question, "does this look good on me?" - What is your definition of good? - And what is their definition of good? You wouldn't ask a conservatively dressed grandmother if the low rise jeans you are trying which look like they were spray painted on and expose your hot pink thong on your hips looks "good"... would you?
  4. Educate your fashion critic. This applies to yourself as well as anyone who you might ask: be clear on what you are asking. If you ask 'Does this make me look fat?' you are not likely to get a constructive (or honest) answer.
    Better to ask: -  "What do you think of the fit? -  Is it too tight?.. Is it too loose?.. If so where? -  Does this fabric overpower my face? -  Which print is more flattering to my figure? -  Is this color too strong? -  Would you wear this to a daytime wedding? -  To the office?" -  The more specific and personal your questions are, the better answers you'll get and the easier your choice will be.
  5. Advanced shopping. Shopping can be an educational experience where you discover the colors, patterns and styles that flatter you the most. It's possible that the stores you shopped that day have lots of clothes for the other "bears", but not one that your inner Goldilocks would choose as "just right".
  6. What would Goldilocks do with electronic shopping? If you like the convenience of shopping in catalogues, on the internet or on TV, and you have to buy an item in order to try it on, how can you try on options to compare? We don't know what Goldilock's clothing budget was, so it hard to say what she would do… but here is what you can do:
    • If buying from a resource where you are not familiar with the fit; accuracy of colors shown; or are not shown the actual size of a print, order multiple options: i.e. two sizes to compare; several colors to compare; two prints to compare. (As you become familiar with a resource, you will begin to know their fit and color accuracy and you will not need to do his every time). You may return those items that don't suit you.
    • You know upfront that you will be paying to return a package with your rejects, so figure that into your shopping expense. Sometimes there are free-shipping promotions which can save you the expense one way. Also look to see if your location is exempt from paying sales tax, which is an additional savings over local shopping.
    • Compare your tax and shipping costs to the cost of traveling to and from the store, and the expense of your time…not to mention the stress and frustration of spending a day shopping and not finding anything you like. Yes, you do have to temporarily shell out some extra cash…but it's a good option to "try on".

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