Monday, July 16, 2012

Make It Work Monday : Little Black (Printed) Dress

Make it Work Monday

As Shari’s new sidekick I have the opportunity to let Shari know about some of the things I like about her blog and some of the areas I would like more information.  Today’s post is a result of one of those conversations.

Shari sent me an email from a reader.  We chatted, I checked my handy “Good Girls Don’t have toDress Bad” book.  Here are my notes, feel free to use them as often as you’d like!

The reader sent us this cute dress and asked us how to accessorize it.  What jewelry, shoes and purse should she wear and how would a Pure Natural or Classic Modern wear it well?

Let’s walk through the basics together.  Grab your notepad so you can just have your personalized style handy since I am writing for every body, color, and style.

Ready?  Let’s go!

Depending on where this dress hits your curves it should be great for all body types. It should give you a waist and minimize your Overly Endowed Bust or Rockin’ Derriere. B’s make sure this waist line is high enough, just under your bust is best and it should not flare out at your widest area. X’s make sure this doesn’t hang on you like a loose potato sack, grab a belt if it does.

Ladies if you are a Warm, Soft, or Light we recommend wearing a Turquoise Scarf around your shoulders and DON’T let that Black peek through! The scarf will  make you look younger and reveal a breezy summer style.

If you are a Clear, Deep or Cool you can wear this dress alone if you’d like. The Turquoise scarf would be good and so would a Black one.

For Clears you might want to find a way to bump up the color contrast with a White shawl (or the lightest/brightest color in the dress).

Deeps you want to keep with the darker shades the dress or take the Teal a little darker.
Cool’s you are pretty much able to any of the above so have fun!


General rule:  Wear what is best for your coloring and which size accessory is best for your height.

Gem tone jewels would be great for every woman as a necklace or bracelet.  Wear your gold or silver jewelry as it looks best on you. 

Now on to shoes and purses!

Buying a pair of “go to” shoes and a purse is a great investment.  It means that you can easily grab them and know that it should match almost any outfit.  Imagine the time you save when you don’t have to make that last minute trip to the store.

I have a pair of “go to” heels that have been repaired after many years and much abuse.   I think the repair cost more than the original shoe… it is SO worth getting a good quality shoe that will last you for years to come! I also have a pair of flats and a purse that match my best color.  Mixing and matching is easier when you have the basics.

Here are the best basic shoe/purse combinations as shown in Shari’s “Good Girls Don’t have to Dress Bad” book.

Remember to try to match your hair color, the closest you can get the better it is.

Light:  Light Taupe
Soft: Medium Brown
Warm: Brown
Cool: Charcoal/Black
Deep: Dark Brown or Black (Depending on how dark your hair is)
Clear: Black

Want to Go crazy?  Here is how to do it successfully! 

First grab your swatches and stick within that set of colors!  You will want to pick the hue that is closest to your best shoe/purse combination. 

For example there are several very pale colors on the Light swatch set.  These are the perfect “splash” colors to add to your wardrobe.  If I was a Light I would look for baby blue shoes or a pale green purse for this dress.  Lights, you want to find a similar hue to your best shoe/purse color, light taupe. 

Same goes for all the other colorings.  Take your best shoe/purse color and find a splash color in a similar hue.  I’m so glad Shari told me this because it means I can carry a blue purse and not have blue hair… I was seriously considering changing my hair color to blue.  Kidding!  Ladies I hope you’re giggling.  You are over half way through making this dress work!  Bear with me a few more minutes.

Shari wanted me to remind you that in the summer time, metallic sandals and other shoes are always winners. Gold, Silver, Bronze, Pewter...are all magnificent choices, remember to check your swatches for your best metallic.

Fashion Personality

On to the last part of the question.  How would a Pure Natural wear this dress?  Or a Classic Modern?  Think of walking into a room of women and maybe you can picture a woman in each of these categories.  I hope it helps you figure out which looks best on you for your event.

A Pure Natural would be wearing the most comfortable set of heels, flats or make a statement going barefoot (just kidding Shari!).  She wouldn’t have too many jewels and it would likely be just her wedding set and a pendant necklace.  She would be keeping it simple and above all comfortable.  Remember what Shari said during her Frumpy toFabulous Challenge (Day 18)  “PLEASE know that you CANNOT be FABULOUS without accessories. Remember, you are NOT frumpy anymore….but FABULOUS! Even if you are a Pure Natural, you need accessories so no wigging out on me here, okay?”

Here are a few jewelry choices from Premier Designs Jewlery today.  Most Pure Naturals will only wear the smaller necklace and with this dress it works! 

Disclaimer:  I do not have any affiliation with Premier Designs Jewelry.  I thought it would make it easy to have each look come from just one company today.  I plan to continue just one company/store in the future. 

A Classic Modern would appear sleek and stylish, polished and poised while staying modern and fashion present.  She is wearing classic pumps and is carrying a purse of a newer design.  It could be using a vintage broach as a modern hair piece.  Her jewels are very modern and have a vintage feel, like the pearls shown below. 

Here are a few jewelry choices from Premier Designs Jewlery today.  The turquoise pendant may not match this dress, but it might match one in your closet.



A Style Fashionista would have the impeccable hair, makeup and would be wearing lots of accessories.  For me I would have to raid my whole jewelry box to have the same amount of accessories on.  She is usually wearing the latest trend (that looks good on her).  No matter her size it looks like her look came off a Runway. 

Here are a few jewelry choices from Premier Designs Jewlery today.  These necklaces offer an opportunity to have only one necklace on with a very dressed up and layered look.  Pair with a few fabulous bracelets and some great (sized right) earrings.


And on to the Creative Original.  She is the woman who’s look is so different yet so put together.  I mean she added a blue ruffle skirt under this dress, a pair of pale green leggings and had shoes with matching floral prints on them and somehow it looks absolutely fabulous!  I’m not sure how these ladies pull their outfits together, but they are wonderfully styled for their body shape and coloring so it works great.

Here are a few jewelry choices from Premier Designs Jewlery today.  These were the funkiest and most fun pieces I could find that went with a black printed dress.  I’m sure Creative Originals would add a few layers of fun or use these accessories in an “original” way


Where I am going with this Dress
Here is my two cents worth… I am normally a Classic Modern. 

If I were going to a graduation party or a social gathering I would wear this outfit with a cute pair of sandals…sparkly flip flops anyone?... or my ballet flats.  I would probably have on a single well beaded necklace that is good for my height. 

If I were going to something a little dressier I would wear my cute black heels with my dressy black purse (I’m a Clear by the way).  I would dress up the outfit with a gemstone necklace and maybe my charm bracelet (which would drive me bananas and it would be off by the end of the night).  I also would take my heels off mid way thru the night and make sure my flats were handy.  If I wanted to get really dressy I would probably feel like a fashionista for the evening, but I would do it in a way that made me feel most comfortable so my identity would still be a Classic Modern, just leaning toward the Style Fashionista side of the equation that night.

The way I see Fashion Personalities is like this… I am not a fashionista and it would be INCREDIBLY exhausting for me to try to always be a style fashionista.  A Creative Original is simply a category my creativity does not fully comprehend when putting together an outfit.  My Pure Natural tendencies come out when I am seeking comfort over style, but Classic Modern is firmly where I belong at this point in my life. 

The style personalities help me put into perspective that there are other women out there who do not dress to the nines every day or have to be creative all the time.  It helps me understand that if I wear what looks good for my body, color, and height then I will look fabulous no matter how trendy or un-bedazzled I am.

Don’t be afraid to take a look around at the next time you’re around a group of women to take note.  Also take note the ladies who have not embraced their outer beauty.  Do they look out of place?  Are they as confident standing in a group versus talking one-on-one?  Take note how women who purposely put their look together also are able to show their inner beauty more confidently. 

Ladies this is going to be a great summer.  Thank you for being so welcoming. I am happy to be here with you.

Until Wednesday!  Yes I said Wednesday, we will have a (hopefully) shorter post on Contrast and Color Hues.

~ Laura ~

P.S.  Did this help?  Would you like more of this type of post?  Is it just WAAY too long?  Were you looking for different detail?  What would you like to hear more about?  Leave me some comments!

Thank you Erika and JoAnn for asking!  If you have questions like this please send them on!  We will do our best to answer as many as we can, remember there are 2 ladies and only 52 weeks, we will try to be as super as possible! 


~Brenda said...

Laura enjoyed your detailed post. I like your idea to wear a belt when a dress hang’s on me. I’m unfamiliar with Premier Designs Jewelry, they have beautiful pieces and I enjoyed seeing how you took one dress and explained how each of us could wear it well and accessorize.

BTW, I too am a classic modern and a pure natural at times. I’m 54 and would like to read about low heeled shoes (no more than 2”) that are comfy yet stylish.

Love your sense of humor!

Kathy said...

Great blog post!! Thanks so much for the detail - that's what I always fumble on. I'm 31 yrs old, a Soft, and a Pure Natural to my core. Details are what I get overwhelmed by and can't possibly see how I can make sense of an outfit. I loved Shari's book and it has helped me chuck some of the things I'm not supposed to wear and I feel more confident. But what I needed more of what actual practical examples of how to put stuff together. I'm so looking forward to your future posts, Laura!!

Laura Gutknecht said...

Ok. I tried posting once and it wasn't the best wording so I'm going to try this again! I'm sorry for those who saw the earlier comment.

~Brenda ~ I will be sure to keep the humor and your shoe request has been added to our idea list!

~Kathy ~ You are welcome! I agree with you, it was harder in life before Shari. For sure!

I hope as a Pure Natural you can see how easy it is to spice up your look with just a simple necklace and not feel like you are "over done". Don't be a stranger, we want to hear more about your journey!

Erika said...

This was a fantastic post. I like seeing pictures and details. Great job ! I like Brenda's shoe idea too.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the blog Laura. Here are some blog ideas.

1. An explanation of pure natural. I think they might be feeling overlooked and need help with accessories.

2. Brands/ Store ideas for each style personality.

3. Accessories and shoe ideas for each style personality.

Your humor is so cute. Looking forward to more posts.

Pam said...


You are a fabulous addition to Shari's blog! Your posts have been great and very informative. Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to reading more about how to put what I've learned in Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad into practice : )

Sweet Blessings,

Laura Gutknecht said...

Anonymous - There is a link to a "Pure Natural" description right at the beginning of the Pure Natural section, it is Shari's post from a little while ago.

I am SO glad you mentioned #2 and #3. We are in the works of something fabulous that is right up that alley. We are trying to work on the details. Do you know how hard it is to work on details when you are SO excited about something?

Pam ~ Aww you are so sweet!

You just made me realize that this is SO similar to my day job. I work with design engineers who talk geek and I translate it to work instructions and processes so our new operators can easily understand it.

It feels much nicer here, WAY more women for one and appreciation for two!

Anonymous said...


I have a few questions for the blog.

Can a classic modern wear a denim skirt or shorts ?

Can we feature makeup ideas for each style based on our DCC ?

If i bought accessories or shoes from the shopper guide in the "Good Girls" book would they be ok for that style ? Say a bracelet from J. Jill, a necklace from Jones New York or something along that line.

Laura, you are a great addition. You and Shari will make a good team.

Jacque said...

loved your detailed post! Keep them coming as I need all the detail I can get!

Laura H. said...

Loved the detailed post. It let me "see" how to accessorize and spurred my thinking on my current outfits.
Please keep them coming!

I would like to see a more detailed explanation between what a pop color is and what an accent color is in my color swatches.

I am rebuilding my wardrobe based on my Style Sheet and based on the Capsule concept. Bringing peace, order, color, and ACCESSORIES to my wardrobe!

Megan C said...

Enjoying this! Keep up the great work!
Thank you!

Bevin B said...

I loved all the details you gave - that is often the hardest part for me! Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

The new "Dynamic Duo " of fashion is Shari and Laura :)

Anonymous said...


What is the best way to figure out my personal style ? Thanks.

Trishka said...

I loved the details. I love the book, but often find it hard to figure out how exactly to apply it to my life and wardrobe. Looking forward to more!

Lynda Lou said...

Hi, thank you for this info! It's so helpful!

I'm not sure if I missed it, but can you share where we can purchase the dress?


Erika said...

Hi ! The dress is from Kohl's. It's a Croft and Barrow. They have a black/pink/orange print too. Hope that helps.

Lynda Lou said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Welcome Laura! Your detailed descriptions are wonderful.
My problem...I am 43, classic modern & pure natural at times, have trouble dressing my age without looking older than I am. Could you please show some outfits that would work for someone my age, height 5'2", wt 122. Please help me! Thanks a bunch. Blessings.