Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog

Two Sharks, Three Styles, Four Lessons

At first glance, fashion for business women may seem pretty straightforward and structured, but the truth is that working environments are as diverse as the individual businesses and the people in them. While you need to appeal to your company’s protocol, there is always wiggle room in there to add your personality. The trick is standing out in a way that makes everyone happy.

Take for instance the two female ‘sharks’ on the incredibly popular television show Shark Tank. Lori Greiner and Barbara Corcoran, while both multi-millionaires and entrepreneurs who help make so many Americans’ dreams become a reality, are true individuals both in their business focus and in their fashion sense. Dubbed the ‘Queen of QVC’ thanks to her patents and long-term relationship with the network, Lori’s fashion is as direct and outspoken as the men on the show. Barbara, the Real Estate and Startup Queen herself, makes her fashion statement in a similar but different way that we will explore below.

Where are their similarities and their differences and what can you extract for yourself from how they present themselves visually?

Here are four simple but impactful tips that you can use in your daily life to be your best shark in your own waters. Oh, and in case you are blanching at the idea of being labeled a shark, take a look at a recent study described in this article, “From Shy to Social, Each Shark Has Its Own Personality,” Instead of the bloodthirsty reputation they have (which is so not true), you can instead think of them as sensitive, smart, free-thinkers – in which case, who wouldn’t want to be like a shark!

1. Solid Colors Keep the Focus on You

If you watch Lori and Barbara on Shark Tank you will notice that they are generally dressed in solid colors with simple lines. There is a reason for this. It allows all of the focus to be on them, not their clothes. The colors flatter but don’t overpower them and, when you look at them, you are not distracted by any fussy design features.

Obviously, the most important thing when choosing a solid color is to be sure it is flattering. This is something I talk about all the time because it is so incredibly powerful. Color has the potential to make you look vibrant, powerful and dynamic or serene, graceful and dreamy, as well as everything in between. Or, it can make you look sallow, slightly sickly or completely overpower you so no one sees you because they are blinded by the color. The color does not necessarily have to be fluorescent for it to be overpowering. It is relative and has to do with your coloring vs. the color you are wearing and takes into consideration your personality as well. Too much color on someone with delicate natural coloring or a very gentle personality and she will get lost in too much brightness or darkness.

Here is Jan in colors that are too bright for her (left). When the colors are tweaked we see her rather than the top she’s wearing (right).

And the opposite can be true. Here is Jackie in a color that makes her disappear (left), but when she wears a brighter color she sparkles (right).

Both women on Shark Tank have a vibrancy to their skin and hair and there is no denying that their personalities are strong. So, when you see them in vibrant blues, pinks or reds (or even black), it does not take you by surprise (in fact, it gives you a clue as to who they are) nor does it overpower them.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to have every color of the rainbow in your closet. Far from it. You will benefit most from wearing those colors or range of colors that flatter you. If you were to look in my closet most of what you would see would be green, teal, orange and blue. I never wear pink or red and only have one thing in purple (and it’s bordering on a blue purple) and I have one thing in yellow. I’m not going to buy gray or orchid, for example, simply because it is popular. I only wear colors that look great on me and that has never led me astray.

If you aren’t sure what colors look good on you, you can always check out my recent article that shares 4 colors that look good on everyone.

Please also remember that wearing solid colors is not a hard and fast fashion rule so if wearing a print makes you happy and you are doing it in colors that make you shine and in a combination that allows the focus to go to your face, go for it! Adding texture to a solid color or choosing interesting design features like Lori Greiner (who loves interesting necklines) does is another way to add variety and interest.

For now, however, we are talking about the impact of keeping it simple and wearing solid color is one way to do that. But, it’s not the only factor to consider as you will see in the next tip.

2. Fit Alert

Now that you have the color(s) you are going to wear, what is the next step? Perfect fit. I know you’re groaning because it means finding a tailor and actually taking the clothes there, but the benefits are well worth it.

Color and good fit go hand in hand. To create a complete look you cannot have one without the other. The eye is drawn to something that is out of place and when your jacket gaps at the waist or is too big in the shoulders, it will be distracting. You do not want to have to compete with your clothes for someone’s attention.

Take a look at Barbara and Lori in any of their outfits. You never seem them wearing something that needs a tuck here or a sleeve shortened there. Never. And, it is pretty much guaranteed that they do not expect a purchase off the rack to fit them perfectly as is. If you wait for that to happen you not only limit your options significantly, but you will spend far more time looking for that elusive perfectly-fitting item than finding one that is nearly perfect and adding the finishing touches at a tailor.

Unlike wearing solid colors, good fit IS a hard and fast fashion rule. If you aren’t going to have something tailored, don’t buy it.

3. You Do Not Have to be Loud to Stand Out

You might be thinking, “But, I’m a quiet person and I don’t want or need to be center stage.” Maybe Barbara and Lori’s styles are too intense, overpowering or structured for you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the same effect by adapting these concepts to fit who you are. Standing out is about being true to who you are and reflecting that in the choices you make.

Take Christiane Northrup, for example.

Christiane Northrup is a leading authority on women’s health and wellness and the author of the new book ‘Goddesses Never Age.’ She has made a powerful impact on the health of many women and is regularly seen on PBS. You can’t help but notice that she is obviously comfortable on television and clearly stands in her own power. In contrast (but no less impactful) to Lori and Barbara’s images, Christiane tends to wear soft solid colors in flowy fabrics that reflect her inner and outer beauty. And, her clothes always fit her beautifully.

4. When in Doubt, Make Statement Jewelry the Star

Jewelry can change an outfit in a heartbeat. Something that looked boring can sparkle with the right necklace. An outfit that felt too casual can be dressed up with perfectly chosen earrings and a bracelet. If you wear the same jacket more than once a week, change the jewelry and the jacket will take on a new personality as well. It’s like magic.

Lori Greiner, in particular, is not known as the ‘Queen of QVC’ for nothing. Whether it’s a simple but chunky necklace, a long looped chain or sparkly earrings, Lori Greiner has been well known both for her jewelry cases (I own one as do many of my clients) and jewelry choices. She sports a variety of necklaces and earrings on the show and each one makes its own statement.

Barbara Corcoran’s jewelry, on the other hand, often feels more classic and you will regularly see her in some variation of pearls. Not surprisingly, Christiane Northrup’s jewelry often has a delicacy and airiness to it that looks graceful and charming. Each woman purposefully reflects her own personality in the jewelry choices she makes.

I have put together a number of outfits including jewelry ideas based on what we have discussed here. You can find all of them here.

Here is one example:

This blue dress (which also comes in a gorgeous mint green color as well as navy blue) is a magic dress. While it looks like nothing off (every single client who has ended up getting this dress never would have given it a second look seeing it on the hanger), it fits beautifully. Whether you have curves or not, doesn’t seem to matter to this dress. It’s flattering on many body types.

Here is one example of how you can accessorize it:

Or, for something more delicate, this necklace would look lovely:

And another option would be to wear these pretty reflective earrings and bracelet:

See other outfit ideas with suggestions for jewelry here.

To show you a real life example of how jewelry can make a difference, here is Amanda in the same outfit with and without jewelry:

Learning to accessorize in a way that compliments the outfit and your personality is well worth it. This knowledge will not only allow you to expand your wardrobe by being able to wear one outfit many ways, but it also makes getting dressed more fun! As Barbara Corcoran shares, “If you want to be noticed, dress the part. My red suit became my trademark and everyone noticed me when I had it on.” She writes more about this in her book, Shark Tales.

When it comes to personal style, you can run, but you can’t hide. If you think you aren’t being noticed, guess again. This is about standing in your own personal power. It doesn’t have to be loud and you don’t have to be the center of attention every second, but it does need to feel authentic. No matter how hard you try, you are not invisible. You can stand out because you are dressing in a way that expresses who you are or you can be noticed because you aren’t. Which makes you feel better?

Take a cue from the women of Shark Tank and stand in your own power as expressed authentically by you!

Please note: All garments pictured here (and in the catalogue) are vegan-friendly (made from fabrics that did not harm any animals).

Some of the affiliate links may generate commissions for Total Image Consultants which helps support the time spent creating these very specific recommendations.

What You Think is What You Get: How to Shop for Clothes with Positive Results

Today is the first day of spring. Whether you are still buried in snow, freezing temperatures and are expecting yet another snowstorm (as we are) or your daffodils are popping up and color is everywhere, it is time to review and update your spring wardrobe in anticipation of much warmer weather to come.

The question is, do you want your shopping and dressing experience to feel like this?

Or this?

Knowing what you want is easy. Getting there is another story…

At this point I am in full shopping mode. This week alone I am shopping with clients four times at Lord & Taylor and twice at Infinity Boutique! With the onset of spring shopping, what I always notice is that while everyone is looking forward to warmer temperatures many women are a wee bit apprehensive when it comes to exposing more of their body. In the cold weather, it is so easy (and accepted) to hide under lots of layers, but it is less easy to do that comfortably as the temperatures rise. This results in anxiety over their wardrobe choices.

Not to mention that whenever I spend time in the dressing room with women (and this includes myself!) I am acutely aware of the energy of their experience of shopping. What I mean by this is that buying clothes is not just about making sure something fits and you like the color. Not by a long shot.

Choosing a wardrobe is as much about navigating the unrelenting world of body image concerns as it is about the practicalities of buying clothes.

For this reason, I want to connect with you before you head into the stores or try on the things you ordered online. Of course, the choices you make and how they flatter (or not) your body and personal taste is important, but none of that matters if a cloud of worry, doubt, fear and anxiety hovers over you throughout the entire experience.

Whether it is a low grade negativity that haunts you and undermines your best efforts or a full-blown ‘get me out of here’ feeling, the end result is the same: poor choices, things bought in desperation, a feeling of being deeply unworthy and hopeless and overall frustration.

Phew! Who wants to shop with all that hanging over their head! And, to be honest, there is little likelihood you will have great success if those negative feelings have anything to say about it (and they will!).

Think about the last time you walked into a store. What was the first thing you thought about? Was it:

  • Nothing ever fits…I don’t know why I bother shopping.
  • It takes me forever to find something I like…I don’t have time for this!
  • Everything is made for someone taller/shorter/thinner/bustier…
  • Even if I do find something I like I’ll never find something to go with it to make an outfit. And what about shoes…oh, dear…it’s too hard!
  • I’m overwhelmed. There’s too much here and I don’t know where to look first.
  • Everything is overpriced and I don’t want to pay for something I’m not even sure I’ll wear.

And, the list goes on. No wonder you put off shopping as long as possible!

I would like to share something very powerful that I have learned over the years:

If you approach shopping with dread, frustration or overwhelm your outcome will feel the same. To change the outcome you MUST change your approach.

“But,” you say, “that’s the way it has always been. I can’t find anything I like or feel good wearing. I don’t see how that is going to change any time soon.”

Clearly, that has been your experience and I don’t trivialize it (it’s exactly why so many women come to me for help not to mention that I have experienced it myself in the past), but I’m sure you want to change that experience going forward.

I know this is hard to believe, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have shopped with hundreds and hundreds of women and have yet to find anyone who cannot have a wardrobe she loves… Not one person and I doubt you will be the first.

You can experience the same fun and delight as Annie and Sara in the photo at the beginning of this article. Right now, all you have to do now is be open

To Change Your Experience, Change Your Thoughts

Do THIS the next time you shop for clothes:

  • Sit in your car or on a bench (somewhere quiet) before you go into the store.
  • Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths…slowly…the store isn’t going anywhere and your shopping experience will be positively enhanced after you go through this exercise.
  • Then imagine what it feels like to be wearing something you love. Something that makes you feel beautiful or sexy or elegant or cool…whatever positive feeling you want.
  • This is VERY important. You DO NOT have to see the exact details. This is all about the feeling. So, if you were wearing something that made you feel great, what would that feeling feel like? Joy? Serenity? Empowerment? ___________?
  • Now, sit for a minute or two and revel in that feeling. Imagine yourself dancing in front of the mirror or leaving the store with a big smile on your face. Whatever feels good to you.
  • Open your eyes and take another deep breath. Now, keep that feeling alive within you as you go into the store. Expect that you will find something that makes you feel that way.
  • If you feel yourself starting to fall back into old habits or feelings, find a corner or hide behind a rack or in a dressing room and go through the exercise briefly again.

Does it work? Absolutely, yes!

Might you need to practice it a bit? Absolutely, yes!

Should you celebrate every success? Absolutely, yes!

Maybe you don’t find anything you want to buy, but you realize that you don’t feel the dismay you usually do as you leave the store empty handed. If so, then celebrate! Or, perhaps you find something unexpected and are surprised. Celebrate! Be open  to how your experience will change. It might not be what you think…at least to start.

Not too long ago I took women from a workshop I offered to Lord & Taylor for a special group shopping experience. Before we started shopping I took them each through a short exercise just as I described above. Then, we shopped.

A little while later as one woman had on a dress she had picked out, a huge smile spread across her face and she said, “This is exactly what I was looking for and how I felt in the exercise we did.”

See this new way of shopping as an adventure and pay attention to what happens for you when you do this exercise. If you get stuck or it feels forced, say to yourself, “More and more I love the clothes I find when I shop and I come home with beautiful items to add to my wardrobe.” (Or create something like that that speaks to you.)

Here’s what Kim had to say about this exercise:

“I have been using your mantra of ‘more and more I feel…’ and it is so empowering. Saying I am beautiful wasn’t working for me but the more and more I feel beautiful, powerful, etc. is absolutely working AND happening! Woohoo.”

Also, if shopping is not a favorite pastime of yours, do not plan a 4-hour shopping trip at the mall! I know it’s tempting to do that to try to get it over with, but it will backfire. Instead, start with 45 minutes at a small store that feels manageable to navigate. Here’s what Pam had to say that speaks to that (she and I had shopped together and then she went shopping on her own):

“In addition to helping me find fabulous things, you have enabled me actually to shop by myself and not get turned off. I tried it in a small session on Monday and felt much better about it and had some idea what to look for. You even made a hit with my daughters. They loved everything. Thanks so much! You were terrific!”

How do you think professional athletes have so much success? All of them use visualization to get results. So, for you, think of shopping as a marathon sport. Use your new visualization tool, practice with it each time before and during your shopping experience and watch (and celebrate!) the results.

Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

How to Buy a Trench Coat You’ll Love to Wear

I often joke that trench coat season lasts about 5 minutes. It comes and goes in the spring while those of us in the northeast are still wearing our winter coats. By the time we need something for rain, the pickings are slim!

Continue reading…

Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered – Spring 2015 Fashion Trend Update

With record-breaking snowfall totals in the Boston area this winter, it feels hard to believe (although such a huge relief) that spring is nearly here. Of course, with many feet of snow still on the ground and piles so high it is hard to see around corners, the thought of wearing spring clothing is still a bit hard to imagine, but I am sure as the snow melts we will ease into it. Soon this winter will be a distant memory—or at least that’s my plan!

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Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

Are You Too Old to Wear Leggings?

It is often understood that if you lived through a trend the first go around, you should not indulge a second time. I’m sure this recommendation is there to keep us all from looking silly, but must you heed it? Leggings are one of those trends. They resurfaced a few years ago and the controversy about them still exists. Should you wear them? Not wear them? How do you decide?

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Eco-friendly Wardrobe Secrets You Never Knew Part 3: Conscientious Consumerism: How to Discard Your Unwanted Clothing

When you buy something new to wear you think (hopefully!) about how wonderful you will feel in it, where you will wear it, how it will keep you warm—in other words, everything to do with what you will do with it NOW. What doesn’t generally come to mind initially is what you will do with the item when it no longer serves you. Continue reading…

Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

Eco-Friendly Wardrobe Secrets:
Keep it Clean & Green (Part 2 of 3)

The environmental impact of your wardrobe doesn’t stop at production: Until I did some research it had never occurred to me that how I cleaned my clothes had such a significant impact on how environmentally friendly they were. I knew, of course, that dry cleaning used intense chemicals and that anything that involved heat required extra energy, but I hadn’t realized how much!

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Eco-Friendly Wardrobe Secrets You Never Knew (Part 1 of 3)

A year or so ago I read an incredibly enlightening book, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” by Elizabeth Cline. I was both mesmerized and appalled as I read page after page of well-researched information about what has happened to the world of fashion and the far reaching impact of our changing approach to buying clothes. Continue reading…

Impulse or Inspiration?
How to make sure you wear what you buy

Do you find your wardrobe at the mercy of impulse purchases? Cambridge Dictionary defines an impulse buy as, “something you buy suddenly and without thinking carefully.” My definition when it comes to your wardrobe is an item you enthusiastically purchase but never wear—its home becomes the bottom of your closet where all the other impulse items reside.

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Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

Are You a Scarf Person?

Are you intrigued by scarves, but don’t wear them because they feel fussy, messy and bulky? Do you wonder if scarves are worth the trouble and investment (no matter how small), or are they a trend you should ignore?

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Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

Jackie: Before
Jackie: After
Diane: Before
Diane: After
Amanda: Before
Amanda: After
Donna: Before
Donna: After
Jan: Before
Jan: After
Sara: Before
Sara: After
Marianne: Before
Marianne: After
Annie: Before
Annie: After
Meryl: Before
Meryl: After

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I had yesterday. The shopping, with your keen eye and color sense, was as wonderful as ever, and the photo shoot was a slice of heaven. I quickly fell in love with Annie, Theresa and Josie. I’ve never done anything even vaguely similar and had more fun than I’ve had in years. Sara Schnorr