Four fashion experts share their shopping and style secrets for combining current trends with personal style.
Karen Kwinter, style editor
1. Think 24-7 with key wardrobe choices. High mileage is important, so choose pieces that move easily from day to evening.
2. Determine your signature style. Pay attention to different looks you wear and take note of those times that you feel you look your best. Compose a few words that describe the look you like or want to achieve (mine is tailored classics with a fashionable twist). Keep that key description in mind when you are shopping, and always ask yourself if your potential new purchase meets your style mandate.
3. Pick a favourite colour family or combo and stick to it. Pass on the perfect on-sale blouse in turquoise if you never wear blues and greens. I feel my best in neutrals, so I keep my purchases to black, grey, white, cream, tan and brown.
Liis Windischmann, plus-size model
4. Keep it simple; don't overaccessorize. Make one or two key pieces the focus of an outfit. If I am wearing a large spectacular necklace, I usually won't wear earrings or bracelets. Each component of my outfit should complement the other, not compete.
5. All women, not just plus-size women, should learn to love their bodies. If you have a body part you don't like, fine, but celebrate and accentuate parts of your body you love. Don't like your belly? Highlight your décolletage with a scoop- or V-neck. High waisted? Choose shirts that elongate your torso (try deep V-necks). Most importantly, just because a certain style is all the rage doesn't mean you can -- or should -- wear it. For instance, thank God that super-low-rise jeans are on their way out. That was the worst cut for me and for many others over the age of 18.
6. Firming undergarments are one of my biggest aids. Clothes don't look smooth all the time without a little help. Spanx are a gift from heaven and I wear them for work and socially, especially under dresses. A great undergarment gives you a trim look from head to toe, as well as confidence in your bulge-free womanly curves.
Page 1 of 2 -- Find more plus-size fashion advice, plus men's fashion tips on page 2
7. Get bras that fit properly so that you have a smooth line under form-fitting T-shirts and tops. Buy at least one bra in a colour similar to your skin tone, for wearing under white or sheer clothing. A white bra is not neutral under a white shirt; the bra will show through.
8. Lycra is one of the world's greatest inventions. Even a very small percentage of Lycra (sometimes only one to two per cent) in a garment makes a big fit difference.
9. If you dislike trips to the dry cleaner's check labels and buy clothing you can wash at home. You know your habits. Don't buy something that will sit in your closet because you don't like to iron.
10. Never buy clothing a size too small hoping to lose weight to fit into it. That's psychologically traumatizing.
Stephen Epstein, sales director for Boss Black Label
11. Build relationships with sales associates that you trust to steer you in the right direction.
12. Be flexible and open to new ideas such as colour and accessorizing.
13. Every man should own a classic white French cuff shirt.
Wendy Bannerman, retailer; owner of Bannerman's
14. Never try to be what you are not. If you are larger and in your 50s, the miniskirt won't fly, but maybe a fun multicolour sweater will.
15. Buy to the top of your budget. On a small budget? Buy less so that you can buy better quality. A few high-quality garments will take you further than a closet full of cheap things.
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