Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What to Wear to Work: Young, Female- Scientist!

Reader question:

Dear Emily,

Thank you for the style tips on the website!  It is the best I came across on my research to new style.  Since few weeks I am trying to answer the question: how should I dress as a scientist?

What would you propose to a young female scientist working in the institute?  I run over hundreds of blogs, websites etc, but nowhere could I find the answer.  The standard jeans and sweater/jumper were my best choice for the University years, but now I really feel like change.

I would like people to know that I care about my appearance.  My work colleagues dress very casual, there is no formal dress code.  Emily, I hope you are able to answer my question and guide me towards the style, which would make me feel elegant with a bit of glamour, young (I'm 25) and comfortable at the same time.

Best regards,

Hi Kinga,

Thanks so much for your question!  This is a great question that I think a lot of professional women in intellectual, historically male-dominated fields can relate to.  If you work in academia some people feel that if you dress nicely you are somehow paying less attention to your work.  I think that's absurd, and I applaud your efforts to raise the bar and dress in a casual-professional manner that is respectful to your work and colleagues.  

To achieve a polished and professional work look that is still age appropriate and doesn't alienate your colleagues, I recommend mixing classic feminine basics like pencil skirts and tailored trousers with more casual staples like a long sleeve tee (shown above), thin-knit sweaters and blouses.  I imagine heels wouldn't be practical if you're in the lab most or all of the day, so I'd suggest a stylish pair of kitten-heels or pointed-toe flats.  If you wear a flat shoe, look for one with some structure and style, to give a bit more professionalism to your look.  

Add some fun and personality to your look with stylish touches like a ribbon belt, a pretty necklace, or an animal print shoe.  This will create an elegant, yet stylish and appropriate look that I'm sure will be a hit at work.  Best of luck to you, and congratulations for representing more women in science!



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to Find the Perfect Engagement Ring

The Wrap Engagement Ring with a Round Diamond

Ciao chicas! (Y Chicos if we have any reading;)  I'm sorry I've been posting so sporadically lately, and thought I'd let you in on why.  I'm thrilled to announce that I'll soon be launching an amazing online boutique full of gorgeous finds for you all!!  The reason I've been away is because I've been busy sourcing all of the goodies for the boutique, ensuring that it will be full of the cutest and best lovelies you'll find anywhere.  Please bear with me while I am putting this exciting new project together, and I promise it will be SO worth it!!  More soon, and for now, please sign up for the email list so you can get new posts sent directly to your email (sign up is at the top left of the page.)

Annnnd without further ado, I wanted to touch on an issue that keeps coming up with female friends, colleagues, and clients.  Engagement ring shopping!!!  We shop all the time, and what could be more important than the piece of jewelry you'll wear for a lifetime?!?  Here are my top tips for finding the perfect engagement ring:

18K Rose Gold Diamond Piaget Rose Ring

1.  Find your style.  Browse through as many pictures, catalogues, and shop around as much as necessary to find exactly what you're looking for.  To start, Martha Stewart weddings has a great gallery of popular ring styles that you can browse through to find your favorite: Wedding Jewelry Finder.  They have a lot of lovely styles, and you'll get a good sense of what's out there.

1/3 Carat Diamond Ring

2.  Picture wearing it every day.  Remember, you need to be able to see yourself wearing whatever you choose EVERY DAY with EVERY OUTFIT you own.  Be sure that the ring is true to your style and lifestyle and will "work" for everyday.  For example, my girlfriend who is a dental hygienist wants a ring like the one above which won't be impossible to wear under her latex gloves every day at the office- smart AND gorgeous!!

Rose Gold 1/6 Carat Diamond Ring

3.  Be unique and creative.  You don't have to buy into the "bigger the better" hype.  Believe me, diamonds (and other stones) are beautiful in every size, and smaller stones and especially pave settings are SO hot right now (as you can see almost every ring here incorporates these tiny, super delicate diamonds.)  You don't have to sport a huge rock to show you're engaged and in love- you really can find a style to suit any taste and budget, and as you can see here the tiniest diamonds can be absolutely stunning (love them!)

Piaget Rose Ring

4.  Four words: Insurance and Lifetime Warranty!!  Make sure that you are completely insured, and that you buy from a well-respected, established jeweler that offers a lifetime warranty.  As perfect as these rings look in the store that first day when you fall in love, wear and tear happens and you will need repairs.  Be sure that you're prepared, so in the event that you lose a diamond (or two or three), there'll be a quick, painless solution in place so you don't have to cry.  

Diamond Ring 1/2 Carat Rose Gold

5.  Do your homework.  Learn the ABCs of cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.  Your diamonds should also be GIA certified and come with paperwork verifying their attributes and value.  Here is a link to the Gemological Institute of America's guide: GIA Guide to the 4Cs.  

6.  Consider upkeep.  Here are some things to keep in mind when making your choice:  a) If you decide on a white gold ring, keep in mind that it will need to be "re-dipped" every 6 - 12 months, depending on how quickly the "white" wears off.  It's additional upkeep you should be aware of from the start.  b) Similarly, the jeweler probably won't tell you this, but if you choose a pave style, those delicate little diamonds are also more likely to fall out of their tiny prong closures over time.  If you choose this setting, diamonds will likely need to be replaced at some point.  c) Diamonds are not indestructible, and they can break (shocker- I know!)  Be gentle with your ring to limit wear and tear.

6.  Tell your confidants.  A very handy tip: pick out what you like and make sure your mother, sister and best friend know your preferences.  These trusted confidants will guide your significant other when the time is right:)  Remember you'll wear your ring forever, so be sure it's exactly what you want!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Safe Beauty

With all the talk there is about eating organic and thinking more critically about what goes into our food, I started wondering exactly what I was "eating" every day in my lipstick and gloss.  If we're concerned about what we're eating, why wouldn't we also care about the cosmetics we ingest every day?  I kept hearing talk about strange sounding things like "parabens" and "phthalates" in various articles and among friends.  I stopped using my favorite strengthening nail polish **it was AMAZING and worked so well- so tough to give up!** when I did some research and discovered it had formaldehyde in it (you know- the chemical they use to embalm bodies?)  Um... ew.  A little more research led me to discover that formaldehyde is highly toxic and a known carcinogen- that is, it is known to cause cancer and is included among the list of "Known Human Carcinogens" by the American Cancer Society.  

All this got me to thinking about what other ingredients we use every day that are potentially harmful to our health.  I don't want to be preachy, and I certainly am not an expert on this subject and am still learning, but for anyone who is interested there is a very helpful and easy to use website created by the Environmental Working Group that lists harmful ingredients by product. It's called the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, and you can search your favorite products and get more information about the ingredients.  All the science and new terminology can be a little overwhelming, so they also provide a handy "cheat-sheet"-type guide that tells you the most important ingredients you should try to avoid.  

I know we glamour gals all love our products, and I'll admit I was hesitant to even do the research because I've seen the "natural" beauty selection at the health food store and it wasn't really that tempting.  HOWEVER one of the nice things about the Cosmetics Database is that if you search by cosmetic type (e.g. "Lipstick") you can learn about safe, low-risk cosmetics and where to buy them- hey, convenient- thanks EWG!  To start, I found this Boots Lipstick that has a "0" risk rating and looks like a really pretty shade I'd like to try.  Like I said, I am just starting to explore all this, but I thought it was something interesting enough to share, and something every makeup lover should at least consider.  I'd love to know- have you also wondered what's in your makeup??  And have you tried more natural cosmetics?  If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments!

Stay safe AND beautiful, and have a great weekend everyone!!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Introducing MakeoverDC!!!

Check out my new personal styling website at www.makeoverdc.com!!

Hi everyone!  I know I have been MIA lately ~ so sorry about that!  I have been working on some very exciting new projects, starting with my new personal styling company MakeoverDC!  Check out the new website including lots of fun photos from our first photo shoot here.

I'm so excited about this new venture, and look forward to expanding the styling services I currently offer, further developing the blog, and getting to talk to more of you soon!  As always, I love to hear your questions so send them to me any time at: emily@secretsofastylist.com

Hope everyone has a fabulous week!!


P.S. If you'll notice J.Lo's look below totally inspired my photo shoot- see my pic at right, twins with my girl J.Lo ;)

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Accessorize With Colorful Shoes

Jennifer Lopez

I love a nude pump as much as the next girl, and they are an absolute wardrobe staple, but right now it's so fresh to rock a colored shoe.  If you like colored shoes but aren't sure how to wear them, let me assure you it is really easy and you will look fab!  There are two very simple tricks to getting the colored shoe look right, and accomplishing a look that is "wow" and not "weird.."  1) The easiest way to make this look work is to pick one color out of your outfit and wear a shoe in that color.  It will really make the look pop, and will coordinate perfectly.  Check out Lea Michelle below for an example of how this is done- see how she pulled a gray shoe to match that tiny strip of gray in her dress?  Flawless!  2) If you're feeling more daring, choose a shoe in a complementary color to your outfit (see J.Lo above doing this above like a PRO!)  Either pick a color near to the color of your outfit (e.g. Rose Byrne mixing purple and fuchsia below) or choose a color that is opposite the main color in your outfit (e.g. J.Lo mixing opposites pink and lime green above.) Voila- color matching made easy!  This works too for mixing and matching colors in your wardrobe.  For example, a fuchsia blouse mixed with a navy pencil skirt for work would be beautiful.  If you want to go more conservative, I also love pairing an all black or black and gray ensemble with a colored shoe like Mila and Kristin have done below.

*I found all of these examples on an awesome website - ShoeRazzi.  For more inspiration, and if you're a shoe lover especially, this is a must-read!  Because let's face it, it's all about the shoes... :)

The color wheel

Lea Michele

Rose Byrne

Blake Lively

Mila Kunis

Kelly Rowland

Rachel Bilson

Kristen Stewart

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How to Look Good in Pictures

Kate Beckinsale

Most women think they are not photogenic and look bad in pictures.  This is partly because we are way too critical of ourselves- don't do that- you're gorgeous!!  However, it is a complete myth that some people are photogenic and others aren't.  Everyone can look great it pictures, but it doesn't happen magically!  Even the most beautiful models can get caught at a bad angle.  The reason they always look great is that they know how to work the camera and use their best angles.  Everyone can learn to do this but it does take some thought and practice.  Here are the tips that I have seen work for yours truly and practically every celebrity in the world.  Try a few or all of these tips and I guarantee you will see a marked improvement in how your pictures turn out.

Jennifer Hudson

Learn from old pictures
Pinpoint what works and what doesn't: Bad posture, makeup, shine, angle, clothing?  Awkward smile? Hair out of place?  It always looks best to smile in pictures, unless you are taking serious glamour shots.  However, a huge goofy grin is rarely that flattering.  For most people, a smaller, more subdued version of you natural smile is most attractive.  Jennifer Hudson, above, has learned what works for her- a sweet, friendly smile and wave.  Also learn what makeup looks best for you in photos.  Usually you need a bit more makeup than you normally wear because the flash washes you out.  There's a reason celebrities wear pounds of makeup on the red carpet - it looks scary in real life but the pictures turn out beautifully.  You don't have to go to that extreme, but remember that a little extra lipstick and mascara go a long way.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Learn from the pros: Angles are your friend
If you look at pictures of models, actresses, and beauty queens you will notice a recurring theme: They always have impeccable posture, standing up very tall and straight to elongate their body, and they often take pictures at an angle, positioning one leg in front of the other and bending it slightly (see this done masterfully by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley above- three different ways!)  These tricks create an hourglass figure by twisting your body, making you appear more slender than if the camera hit you straight on.  A well-placed hand on the hip further accentuates your figure.  Learn from the pros and adopt a signature pose that works for you.  Once you see the proof in photos you'll never go back to unposed, head on photos.  See Salma Hayek below working an angled pose and looking super tiny and curvaceous at the same time!

Salma Hayek

Practice a new approach
Practice in the mirror a little bit to learn your most flattering angle and smile.  Then, before someone snaps a picture of you, compose yourself and quickly run through your checklist to remind yourself to look your best:  For example, here's what goes through my mind before the camera snaps:  1. When I know a picture is about to be taken: Freshly apply lipstick/gloss, dab any shine from your face with a tissue or blotting paper.  2. Right before the camera snaps: Fix hair in its most flattering position, stand up as tall as possible and suck in your tummy, shoulders back, face and body at their most flattering angle, and smile naturally but not too much.  My super quick checklist: Stand up straight, shoulders back, tummy in, angle your body, breathe and SMILE! *Note*: It may not be comfortable, but it WORKS! A minute of discomfort is worth a beautiful photo that lasts a lifetime:)

Salma Hayek is a perfect case study for posing perfectly in pictures.  She is TINY: 5' 2" and super curvy.  If she slouched it would not be flattering.  But she is a master of composing herself for pictures and utilizing her best angles.  Here she is looking long, lean and gorgeous by positioning her body at a slight angle to the camera, one leg out in front at an angle, shoulders BACK, tummy in, and a small but lovely smile.

Salma Hayek

Be confident and have fun
Don't be afraid of having your picture taken - it will show up in the photo!  Relax, be happy, and know that you are beautiful.  Confidence and genuine happiness are the most important ingredients in any great photo.  See Penelope Cruz below looking relaxed and lovely *and with her body and head at an angle!

Penelope Cruz

*Remember my number one tip: Take photos when you're fresh!
Make a point to take pictures at the beginning of the party/event/night when your makeup is freshly applied and hair and wardrobe are at their best.  Photos will be exponentially better when you take them at the beginning of an event rather than two hours later when you're hot, shiny, and tired.

Finally, enjoy much more flattering pictures!! 
I hope this is helpful- knowledge is power and it doesn't help anyone to think that some people look great in pictures just because they were born that way or lucky.  With practice and a little thought everyone can look their best in photos.

For more tips and tricks, check out these articles:
Model Secrets- How to Look Great in Every Photo

What are your go-to tricks and tips for looking great in pictures?:)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Little Glamour for the Office

Ladies: Let me let you in on a little secret- Talbots!  For those that have never shopped here before, they have some really nice, quality pieces that work perfectly for the office especially.  I checked in with them and they have a lot of very cute pieces in store right now that would be perfect little additions to spice up your summer work wardrobe.  Annnd they are having a really amazing sale right now.  Here are some pieces I'm loving:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Work It in Stripes!

Surprisingly, stripes have become one of my absolute favorite trends for this summer.  They are so wearable for a variety of occasions from weekend to work days, and I love how fresh, crisp and modern they feel.  I really like the way striped pieces can work as a bold, yet appropriate, look for the office.  They also pair so easily with all of your existing neutral white, black and navy basics.  For me, it's a no-brainer- here are some looks that I would wear in a minute!