Friday, May 9, 2008

A More Professional Me: (a kind of "Pimp my Librarian")

Anyone who has been around me for more than 5 minutes knows, my idea of dressing professionally is ironing my jeans and anime t-shirt. So, when I saw that there was a workshop on dressing more professionally, it was obviously something I could use.

Emily Neill, the founder of the company Closet Smarts was the presenter who gave the talk. She is a clothes Guru, a woman who comes in and helps women of all shapes and sizes to dress better and feel better.

First thing she made clear is that a person does not need to buy new clothes to make themselves look good. People can use what they have, just by wearing them in a different way.

The biggest thing she seems to advocate is clothes that help shape your body, rather than something that actively tries to hide your figure. You look more bulky when you do this. Anything that isn’t heavy and droopy is something that you want to go for.

She talked about using style to hide “Problem” areas. Empire waists are an example, which draws the eye to the area below the bust, and not what’s below it.

V-necks are preferable to turtlenecks. A v-neck draws the eye to the face; a turtleneck makes the top of a person look like a solid block. It can give the illusion of jowls.

Women who want to look a little smaller than they are shouldn’t try and wear skirts that have too much material. She advocates using the hemline of the skirt to make yourself look smaller.

Less is always more: clothes that hide less, and hug the body more. Too big clothes look like you are hiding something. (Guilty, I like my sweaters big because they’re cozy and warm. Not sure that I’ll give that up, but it’s a good point.)

While some of the fashion mistakes in her pictures were obvious, I found oddly that a lot of the pictures Emily said was a “bad” look…..I actually liked some of them. Maybe I have weird fashion sense but I kept thinking “That looks cute, and comfy. What’s wrong with it?”

She talks about letting one piece of clothing do all the work. For example, a long pair of fancy earrings doesn’t need to go with a necklace. They’ll do the work themselves.

She says that making up your mind that a certain color doesn’t sit well on you is a bad idea. All colors have variations, so not trying a piece of clothing because of a color is a mistake.

She also says that you have to take the time to find clothes that fit right, and look good. You have to commit to the idea, and give yourself the time to do it.

“Make every day a best outfit day” She advised. She notes that we have one or two really great outfits, so why do 80% of our clothes make us feel like…well…..the word she used would have gotten her removed from the kid’s dept, but the point is well taken.

She also advocates the idea that you have to be able to feel beautiful, feel good about what shape, size and look you have, before you can even begin to start re-hauling your closet.

To get the most out of a wardrobe, you can’t put clothes in groups. They have to work together to work for you, she says. “Get rid of the clothes ghettos” She says.

She suggests sorting a closet by pants and then tops, and sorted by color. Take everything that’s just “Hang around the house” clothes and get them out of the closet (Uh oh….that limits my wardrobe to about 3 things).

She also talks about exploring shoes and using a full length mirror to be able to check a whole outfit when you’re done. Shoes don’t have to ruin an outfit. There are so many options.

Choose clothes based on your body and what you want, not by what fashion dictates. If it looks good, it looks good.

Ask yourself: What are the cuts that look good on me?

Fashion is about industry, it’s about getting us to feel bad about ourselves to get us to buy a product. But when we choose clothes based on ourselves, and by what makes us look better, feel better, and feel more powerful, we change from the outside in, and show what’s inside out.

While I can’t say I agree with EVERYTHING she said in the choice of clothes, she made some great points about making yourself look good. I may just have to check out the website…….but I’m NOT giving up the Anime T-shirt.

Emily Neill’s website can be found at

-Sarah "The Dyslexic Librarian" Hodge-Wetherbe, Springfield City Library