The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Fashion

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010708FASHION.jpgLadies, it has arrived. Old Man Winter is here to make us all miserable. The time for big, wooly coats, mittens, hats and scarves has arrived. But who said winter wear has to be boring?

Take a scarf. Who would think that the scarves we accessorize with today began in ancient Rome as sudariums, a.k.a., a stinky sweat cloth. As more stylish Roman citizens began finding ways to make their sudarium part of their ensemble, a fashion trend was born!

Throughout time scarves have been used to denote political affiliations and military rank. Today, scarves keep us warm and looking chic!

OK, so how do we pull off this great look? Never fear, Cincy Chic is here to help you sort through the choices!

Scarves aren’t just for wearing outdoors. Bright, embellished scarves can take your outfit from boring to eye-catching. When picking one out, don’t worry about making sure it matches your outfit perfectly. A different pattern or more color adds to the effect. Look for one with some added spice, like a nice silk or cashmere scarf with metallic threads woven in or some beads sewn on.

If you like a square scarf, start by folding in half diagonally, like a bandanna. Pull the ends behind your neck and cross them, bringing one back to the front over your shoulder. Tuck the end left in back under the rest of the scarf, and you’re good to go!

Long scarves look great wrapped and wound in loops. Try folding it lengthwise then in half, creating a loop. Wrap it behind your neck with the loop and loose ends in front. Pull the loose ends through the loop, and then use them to create another loop. Tuck the new loop through the old one, and hide the short ends under the knot.

As for accessories, big jewelry will just snag your scarf. Go simple, with just some studs and a bracelet.

These aren’t the only way to wear embellished scarves, just some tips. Experiment, my fashionistas, and find a look that works for you!

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Models: Katherine Janszen
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

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Gone are the sweater dress, metallics and layering pieces. Enter eco-friendly fashions, designer sneakers, romantic styling and chic classy scarves. As fashion fanatics know, true fashion is about change and evolution. Emerging trends come to fruition with the changing seasons, societal state of mind and artistic influences. Join us as we share our fashion predictions for 2008, celebrate exciting up-and-coming designs and stylish innovation for the new year.

As the world is discovering the importance of maintaining and caring for our environment, going green has become glamorous. Clothing designers have discovered the importance of Eco Chic clothing and it’s rising popularity. Fashionistas are becoming as concerned with their environment as they are their style. Eco friendly clothing is on the rise, made with organic cottons, soy, hemp, bamboo and without harmful chemicals. Levi’s, an American clothing staple, has recently released an eco line. Sold in Macys, Kohls, Sears and JCPenny, Levi offers jeans, skirts and T-shirts made of 100 percent organic materials. Buygreen.com is a Web site dedicated to those interested in "going green," and includes clothing and accessories. The style conscious are now mindful of our environment and the importance of maintaining it. This eco savvy state of mind has created an innovative approach to fashion design. We hope this is a fashion trend that's here to stay.

Today’s woman is on the go and needs fashionable shoes to match her lifestyle. Fashion sneakers are strolling into stores and are a huge trend coming into the New Year. A step up from your classic white kicks, fashion sneakers are now chic urban street wear that can now be considered "dress shoes." Top gym shoe companies are teaming up with designers to break boundaries between traditional sneakers and modern footwear. Keds has joined forces with fashion designer Nanette Lepore, to bring a shoe line with fun and feminine styles. Sequin, gold, velvet, satin, animal prints, stars and stripes – there are no longer rules that say sneakers are strictly for the gym. Skimmers (slip on sneakers), sneakers and booties are high fashion and can now be worn as a chic accessory to your favorite outfit. Many other known sneaker brands, like Puma, have hopped on the trendy bandwagon. With a line called "Sport Fashion," Puma has teamed with innovative designers like Alexander McQueen and Philippe Starck. Wear the new fashion sneaker trend with jeans or a suit. High fashion has a new shoe in town that encompasses comfort and trendy designs.123107FASHION2.jpg

Kick your outfit up a fashion forward notch by adding a scarf as an accessory. A big trend in 2008, head and neck scarves are a unique way to bring style to your wardrobe. A head scarf adds classy sophistication, especially worn with sunglasses and the classic trench. Neck scarves are an eloquent touch and can be worn folded like a tie, or knotted softly to the side. Sites like hermes.com, offer How-To tips to fold your scarf in creative ways. On the hermes site, click on scarves then playtime with your scarf for a detailed description on scarf folding.

Springtime is on the horizon and it brings about warm seasonal thoughts. Florals, soft hues, whimsical designs; spring/summer 2008 will bring about a soft femininity women love to wear. Romantic styling is a big trend for the warmer times ahead and includes light airy feminine materials like silk, chiffon and other see-through materials. Designers like Stella McCartney showed countless designs with an airy, ghost like quality. Look for sheer fabrics and nearly naked looks in soft hues. Ivory, soft pinks and florals compliment the soft style spring will bring.

Head straight into the new year with confidence, knowing what emerging trends lie ahead. Practice your eco friendly lifestyle with environmentally conscious clothing, kick your classic sneakers up a notch with designer styles, use a scarf as a hip and classy accessory, and showcase your springtime whimsy by dawning sheer flowing designs. Evolve with the changing trends and you’ll stay the stylish fashionista we know you are!

PHOTO CREDITS:
First
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Katherine Janszen
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

Second Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Lyric with Lyric Originals
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

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Party poppers, champagne toasts, a kiss at midnight; celebrating the New Year is a red carpet pass to dress your fashionably best. For one night only your fashion stlye may climb to new heights, no matter what the venue, to give you a fabulous view of living the high life. What you wear can easily make or brake your evening of glam and glory. Confetti will soon be thrown, champagne is on ice, time is running out- so go find something nice! Join us for our New Year’s countdown toward finding the right look for you, and celebrate the coming of a new year in style!

10- The clock is ticking! Too late to order that party dress online, without paying a fine for quick shipping. Have no fear fabulous fashionistas! All the current trends are ready and available for you, at stores found in your local mall.

Sparkle, shine, and everything fine can be found in stores like Express, Cache and Dillards, all of which are easily accessible. Sequin and beaded clutches at Cache or Forever 21 are adorable and come in various gem tones. Express offers killer party dresses with top notch glam, more extravagant and fancy then their usual gorgeous but standard fare. Dillards in Kenwood Towne Center has an amazing dress section, where you’ll find many variations of the season's best. Big colors to finish the year are the always classic basic black, gold tones and silver shine.

9- Should Auld acquaintance be forgot? No, and neither should your outfit at the biggest party of the year. As always, it’s important to think about the venue you’ll be attending the night the ball drops. Celebrating the New Year, however, gives you a free pass to go above and beyond the norm and dress up more than is expected. Lights, cameras, ACTION! You’re a star, glam enough for the red carpet, impeccably dressed and ready to shine. Okay, so that may be taking it a little too far, but why not make the traditionally celebrated night one that’s unforgettable? It’s okay to go above and beyond, no matter what the function. Make a grand entrance that no one will forget, and make your outfit worthy of a once-a-year celebration.

8- Metallics are a big trend finishing up the year, so what better time bring out some shine than New Year’s? Dresses in gold in silver can be found all over and can catch anyone’s eye. Add beading, jewels or sequence and you have a dress suited for the red carpet, or any venue the Queen City has to offer. Satin dresses in bright colors like blue or green can easily compliment your skin tone and dress you up for fantastic fashion success. As always, the classic black dress will never go out of style. Slimming and forever fashionable, a simple black dress paired with sparkly accessories will make you shine in a sophisticated and classy way.

7- While shimmer and shine is in this season, remember to let the party poppers and "Happy New Year" chants be loud and noisy; not your outfit. The biggest party of the year allows you dish out the glitz and glam, but there is a fine fashion line. Remember it’s still possible to undeniably overdo it. When wearing a busy dress, make your accessories subtle if you wear them at all. On the flip side, a classic black dress may be kicked up a New Year’s notch if paired with a sequin clutch or glamorous glitter earrings.

6- Not one specific dress form is more fashionably fabulous than another, so the entire rack is yours and open for business! Strapless, wrap, tank, shift, one shoulder, mini, long; the possibilities are fun and endless. Think about what compliments your body, and try a few choices on. While an empire waist (dress flairs starting below bust line instead of traditional waist) can hide your tummy and draws attention from your hips, it doesn’t flatter a large bust like a wrap dress can. A mini dress will show off your long beautiful legs, while a slim knee length dress can help the shorter stylistas elongate their figure. It’s important to try several variations on and chose a style and fit that’s comfortable for you. Concentrating on a midnight kiss is a must, not worrying about an over-pouring bust!

5- Jewelry is an accessory that can tell the story of uninhibited fashion when you make your golden grand entrance. Diamonds, gold, silver, dangly or stud, light up the night by choosing complimentary jewelry pieces that finish off your divalicious dress. Dangling earrings compliment a strapless dress and draw attention to your neckline, as well as a low cut wrap dress. Diamond studs are appropriate if your dress is taking center stage and your ear needs a small part to shine. A long necklace paired with a plunging neckline is complimentary, while classic silver bangles are fun to wear and leave your arm far from bare

4- High caliber clothing is always a better shot when paired with the classic clutch. Sequin, jewel encrusted, metallic or satin clutches all follow the current trend and could bring a drab outfit into the spotlight. Multifunctional, a clutch purse is an accessory to your outfit while holding essentials you’ll need to touch up throughout the night.

3- What does every fashion forward female love? Shoes, shoes, shoes! Put your flats away for another day and pair heels with a fabulous dress for the evening. Heels compliment any dress nicely no matter what the length, and elongate your legs in the process. Open toe, pump, straps; there are no rules when celebrating the New Year, no matter what the weather. A classic black pump works well with most dress styles, while the metallic trend is full force for your feet with strappy silver, bronze and gold ready available- what a treat!

2- There is no better way to feel fashionably complete and sensually sexy than wearing undergarments fit for a queen. While only you and your special someone will see them, you’ll carry yourself with confidence and a sexy stride that will compliment your overall look. Don’t hold back when choosing your undergarments for that special night. Designer pieces can be found at La Silhouette located in Madeira. There you will find items like Betsy Johnson bras, Elle MacPherson intimates and more. Treat yourself and your partner, and celebrate the New Year with special sexy intimates to complete your style.

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Finally, the most important accessory to complete your look; a genuine smile to light the new year. Celebrating a New Year is a time to address hopes for the future and to be thankful for the joys in the past year. Genuinely feeling thankful for those in your life will make you glow the entire evening, and is an accessory that will remain timeless in the years to come.

Happy New Year! Cheers to a fabulous and stylish you. We have been blessed with amazing readers that emulate the style and passion for life that we so enjoy writing about each year. Stay tuned, more fashion advice to come in 2008. Have a blessed, fashionably fantastic New Year!

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Stephaney Theobald of Impeccable Planning
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

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Deck your iPod with jewels and charms, fa la la la la, la la la la! Adding oh-so-beautiful bling and personality to that little device you just can’t live without it so easy. It only takes a little time and creativity.

But before you get out the hot glue gun, remember: never bling on the original case. In most cases, it will void your warranty. For almost all personal electronics, you can purchase pre-bedazzled cases, cases you can decorate yourself and cases in a variety of colors to fit your every mood (and outfit). Two great places to get cases and other eye-catching accessories are www.daydeal.com and  www.accessorygeeks.com. Both places have lots of accessories for numerous personal electronics and free shipping on all cell phone accessories.

Most phones, iPods, MP3 players and the like have places to attach a cell phone strap, and that is one of the easiest and fast ways to make it yours. Find a cell phone charm you like and attach it through the opening. Some cell phone straps have a clasp that allows you to easily change the charm. Accessory Geeks even sells small clips that you can attach to your phone or iPod, so you can have a strap if it wasn't made for one originally.

But if you really want to go all out and truly dazzle up your device, start with a case, glue and flat back rhinestones (or Swarovski crystals if you're going all out). I like this approach better than the self adhesive kind because you can lay out the design and change your mind easily. You can find the crystals, rhinestones and glue at craft stores. Set aside a little work space, your case and all your supplies and let your creative juices flow.

And don’t forget the carrying case for your phone. They, too, can be decorated to match your device. All these items are fairly inexpensive, so you’ll be able to bling out a few devices and cases for all your moods. And there won’t be any mistaking which one is yours.

Creating these items are great ways to spend these dreary winter days. You can even turn it into a party with your friends. Get together with a few girlfriends, pool your supplies and ideas and let the fun begin!

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Tisa Powell of Pure Romance
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

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Christmas is coming to town at turbo speed, and like it or not, it’s found a close parking space on your calendar. Have you planned your festive holiday wear for this season’s party ride?

Although Christmas is a time of joy and giving, the Yuletide can bring a full calendar and all the stress that goes along with it. That’s why Cincy Chic’s fashionable haute helper is here to style you sensational for your next holiday party. In true Christmas form, enjoy our homage to the 12 Days of Christmas — our 12 ways to achieve perfect party wear will have you shining brighter than the star atop your Christmas tree!

1. Class Act

Today’s "lady-like" trend will never go out of style, and is reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. Save the flashy short number for when the ball drops, and keep it classy. The quintessential black dress is always the perfect fit for any holiday fiesta. Pair it with fashionably-funky-metallic pumps or your basic black hue, and simple jewelry that sparkles. You’ll be channeling Audrey’s famous “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” style and be the belle of the ball!

2. Sparkle and Shine

Today’s winter trend is lighting up the night with metallics, sequins, beading and jewels. Your favorite holiday décor sparkles, why can’t you? While it should not be over-done, light-catching jewels and beading on your favorite sweater or dress will help you stand out from the rest. A festive top with sequins and shine can be paired with jeans or black slacks. Finish off your "class act" look with a jewel-encrusted clutch. It’s the holiday season, so it’s time to make your ensembles shine as bright as your sparkling personality!

3. Dress to impress

Dresses have hit their height and are here to stay. Take your party wear to the top level by wearing a dress to your next Christmas get-together. Whether with friends or family, you can’t go wrong with this classic favorite. A "classy" black dress, a dress with shine, sweater dresses, wrap dresses, all of them are divine!

4. Sensational Sweaters

While holidays warm our hearts, there is a chill in the air courtesy of our dear friend, old man winter. Sweaters are everyone’s favorite winter wear, and are perfect for your holiday get-together. Belt the now-popular sweater dress, or don a sweater with sparkle this season. You’ll be comfy and classy, with a warm feeling inside and out!

5. Classic Clutch

The clutch purse is a personal favorite and popular accessory at the moment. When you’re dressed to impress, the perfect clutch can easily bring your festive frock together. A clutch with metallic tones, jewels or animal prints can shine up your dull outfit, making you a decorative diva. Have fun with your clutch and make sure it’s big enough to hold your personal yuletide essentials.

6. Loveable Leggings and Terrific Tights

The winter chill can sometimes keep us from wearing a special dress for the evening. Have no fear, leggings and tights are here! A popular trend in the ‘80s, leggings and tights are back again and will keep your legs warm with style. Pair tights with your festive shiny dress or tights with the sweater dress you adore.

7. Stunning Skirts
It’s the holiday season, time to kick your fashion fever up a notch and go for glam! Knee-length skirts are perfect for your party wear needs. Pair a simple top with a metallic skirt, or a shiny top with a simple pencil skirt. The possibilities are endless, and your classic skirt will never go out of style.

8. Justifiable Jeans

Party wear does not always have to scream glitter and glam. Jeans may be just as appropriate, and can be dressed up with the right top and accessories. Once you add a belted sweater and knee-high boots or pumps to jeans, you’ve kicked your style class up a notch. Everyone loves delicious denim so don’t be afraid to show your favorite jeans to the world. The holidays are a time of giving, and not a time to shun those un-shiny!

9. Bountiful Boots

A classic tall boot is timeless and is perfect for your holiday get together. Fortunately for us, the low or no-heeled boot is in. This gives us less chance of a seasonal spill in the slick snow! Wear flat boots with skinny jeans and your favorite holiday sweater, or pair with a knee length skirt. Your boots will add class and style to your holiday wardrobe, and will be a staple in your closet for parties, and years, to come!

121007FASHION2.jpg10. Pump It Up

Pump heels are perfect for just about any holiday attire. Lucky for us, fashion designers have caught on to this trend and created fun festive pumps for any occasion. Metallic, patent leather, animal print… these fashionable shoes will pump up your outfit for the perfect party!

11. Belted Beauty

Belts are a great accessory that can completely change the look of an outfit. Pull a long sweater out of the closet and add a thick waist belt. The whole look with change before your enthusiastic eyes! Wear a belt with a sweater, dress or any shirt to add a touch of pizzazz for your holiday party. Waist belts, skinny belts, whichever you prefer, will help you celebrate Christmas with style you’ll adore.

12. Outrageous Outerwear

Outerwear is just as important as the fashionable frock you’re wearing underneath. The cold weather makes a coat or jacket a necessity, so why not make it a stylish for the season? Coordinate the color of your coat with your outfit, and match the style. A leather jacket may be more appropriate with jeans, while a black pea coat is perfect for your festive dress.

Christmas songs are taking over the radio, festive lights are all around, and holiday gatherings are filling up your day planner. In the mix of it all, your seasonable style is in question. Have you been naughty or nice? Either way there’s a look for you this holiday season. Use our 12 perfect party wear tips to guide your style in the winter party land we all enjoy! Happy haute holidays!

PHOTO CREDITS:
First Photo
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Stephaney Theobald of Impeccable Planning
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

Second Photo
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Gateway Quarter, downtown at 12th & Vine
Model: Dawnté Monéy

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If your pet could talk, would she ask where the nearest Nieman Marcus is? Or if her collar brings out her eyes?

Rhinestone collars, studded leashes, cozy canine sweaters, dazzling doggie carriers … today, humans aren’t the only ones showing off their fashion sense. Many are outfitting their pets with dazzling designs made for a queen — albeit a furry queen.

Because of this, it's become easier to find a variety of pet styles from a doggie jacket for Buster to slippers for Katinka the cat. Where can you find fun fashion for your pet? We’ve enlisted the help of local fashionistas who help pets to don more stylish duds than most humans could ever beg for!

Sherri Keyes, a Cincinnati native and downtown resident, loves to spoil her one-year-old Boston Terrier, Matilda. Juicy Couture, Ed Hardy, nothing is too good for her "punk rock inspired" pooch. Does Matilda appreciate her punk fashion sense?

“I think she loves to wear hoodies. When you hold up her sweatshirt or hoodie, she sits automatically like you have a treat or something, she then sticks her head through the neck hole on her own and then goes limp for you to get her paws in the sleeves. She gets very excited when you show her her shirts,” Keyes says.

Some animals think of their new fashion sense as a treat just as much as their owners do. Your pet can not only look fabulous walking the streets, but can also benefit from the warmth of a hoodie or sweater. Keyes says, “Honestly, she gets cold. They actually are for a purpose. I just lucked out that she happens to look so darn cute in the process.”

There are many different styles to choose from for your pet, just like you would find in your own favorite fashion boutique. Pet boutiques are popping up all over, allowing you to find fashion favorites for your furry best friend. Keyes’ punk rock style has a big influence on the way she dresses Matilda. Web sites like www.thepunkypup.com offer unique styles to fit your fashion preference and dress your pet in a way that may match your own style.

120307FASHION2.jpgIf you want to keep it local, Cincinnati-based pet accessory designer Marianne Buttner has also designed unique pet wear that will soon be available on her Web site. Fab chic styles, from clothes to carriers, can be a quick click or drive away.

Local stores like Hyde Bark Fashions on Erie Avenue in Hyde Park or Dog About Town in Rookwood Commons offer everything you and your pet would roll over for. T-shirts, sweats, sweaters, tank tops, dresses, skirts, coats, raincoats, shoes and boots; there is nothing your pet wouldn’t wiggle his tail to wear.

Not only do stores like these offer canine couture clothing, but they also offer breed specific items for your personal pooch. Have a favorite sports team you know your pet would love to bark for? Hyde Bark Fashions offers sports wear for your dog ranging from the Bengals to Ohio State football. Fun holiday-specific items help you involve your pet in your favorite traditions. A Halloween costume or a Christmas dress will make your pet look and feel special and festive! Accessories like lavish leashes, collars, specialized dog tags and beautiful booties can make your doggie dazzle or your kitten glisten. They even have matching accessories for you to join in the feline fun.

It doesn’t stop there. There are diva dishes for your doggie dining and gourmet dog food for your fabulous fur ball. Hyde Bark Fashions even offers birthday cakes for your special pet to enjoy.

Many fashionistas dress their pets to the nines in accordance to a new fashion craze made just for our furry friends. Nothing is too good for the animals we adore. Whether local or online, it isn’t hard to find pet boutiques with unique items. Online pet boutiques are abundant, giving a full range of chic styles for your fashion forward friend to enjoy. So, when you’re out and about treating yourself to fabulous fashion finds, don’t forget about the pets you love. Give your furry friend the gift of fashion. You'll be right there with them begging for more!

PHOTO CREDITS:
First photo: Provided by Sherri Keyes

Second photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Items: Creative Coverlets™ available on www.mariannebuttner.com

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It's that time of year when we are compiling holiday-shopping lists for everyone in our lives and undoubtedly we come to a roadblock in figuring out what gift to get that certain "difficult" person on our lists. We've exhausted all options, mainly because our brains hurt from trying to come up with a great gift idea, and inevitably we settle for something that's "easy."

And with all the incredible post-Thanksgiving sales going on and the big lure of retailers this season offering incredible deals for 50 to 70 percent off on select clothing items, the temptation to pick up something "easy" might spell C-L-O-T-H-I-N-G for some. And you say to yourself, "Hey! That's perfect!" You figure that once you know someone's size and likes (if even that), that clothing can be a quick-go-to-gift-idea. But the big question is, "Clothing or not?"

Clothing of Past

My advice: "NO!" Don't buy clothing as a gift…at least tangible clothing. Tangible clothing, you ask? Bear with me…

I personally don't like receiving clothing as a gift, mainly because of my childhood.

As a kid growing up, I attended many family holiday gatherings in which dozens of relatives would be present, and without fail, they would (as I grew older, I realized that my female relatives were the ones behind all the gift buying) would give me random clothing as gifts. And when I say random, that's exactly what they were. I'm talking about quilted scarves (who buys a kid a quilted scarf that's 200 miles long?!), sequined jackets that were quadruple my size, holiday-themed socks and sweaters, bejeweled velvet dresses and button-down blouses that came in hideous hues such as lime green and peach that were typically fringed and patch-worked. Some of these items still had the tags on them; numerous ones had the red-discounted price tag ranging from $4 to $9.98! (Disclaimer: not ALL my relatives gave me such cheap, tacky presents, but a lot of the "twice-removed-variety" sure did.)

I literally had years worth, and a considerable accumulated pile, of random clothing, of which, I didn't use at all, or didn’t have the heart to re-gift to anyone I knew. So eventually the pile made it to a local clothing drive, where, hopefully, someone found the need for a lime-greened, fringed blouse.

I figured that over the years, my relatives must've spent a decent amount of money, just for the sake of saying that they "got" me something "special" for the holidays. Yet, every time I was handed a gift at these gatherings, I would dread what ghastly fabric I would unearth, but what I dreaded the most, was the fake enthusiasm I would have to muster up, to save my face and spare the feelings of my relatives.

What was really depressing about the whole incident was the way those presents made me feel. I honestly felt insulted and disappointed that my relatives would give me a gift, so far removed from my personality, likes or even size! To me, those gifts were so impersonal, that my feelings would've been spared if they didn't give me anything at all.

So, ever since a child, I vowed that I would never get anyone a gift just for the sake of getting them something, and least of all, I vowed that I would never get someone clothing as a gift, because to me, clothing always represented a last minute, random, impersonal gift. At least the tangible kind.

Those tangible pieces of clothing my relatives gave me were horrendous, but if they had taken the time to invest in a gift card, my attitude would've been completely different.

Repeat After Me…"The Gift Card Is My Friend!"

Opt for a gift card instead of going to a store and picking up the first random article of clothing that is on sale and because you like it and think it would look cute on so-and-so. In a way, you'll be buying that person on your list clothing, but just not the tangible kind.

The gift card has an infamous reputation as being an impersonal and tacky gift idea, but for me, a tacky and impersonal gift is one that is purchased with the "I have to get them something!" mentality.

Gift cards are the perfect solution to ensuring no one will have to fake enthusiasm this holiday season when they open your gift.

Gift cards allow the giftee to buy exactly what they want from a favorite store of theirs. Personally, I don't see anything wrong, impersonal or tacky in empowering someone with the means to buy something they like, from a store they like. That's just me. Heck, I would rather receive money — so I can go out and get what I want, or use that money for something else I really need to take care of, such as bills — than receive another themed, over-sized holiday sweater!

People will appreciate the fact that you remembered what their favorite clothing store is, which restaurant they eat at every week, which coffee joint they drive to every morning and which is their favorite bookstore to browse through — when you buy them a gift card to such places. Gift cards are thoughtful and practical gift ideas for anyone on your list.

Plastic Dos and Don'ts

If you are smart, follow my advice and decide that a gift card is the best way to go than spending hours rummaging around for clothing this year, here are some pointers:

  • DO! make sure to purchase gift cards of significant value, for the significant people in your life. This is not the time to get a $5 gift card for your brother or sister. You might as well just slip them the real thing when you see them.
  • DON'T! buy random gift cards. Just as with tangible clothing, don't purchase gift cards to stores that your giftee will never go to. Try to match the gift cards to the person, i.e., if you have a foodie on your list, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get them a couple different cards to a few of their favorite restaurants. They'll definitely be thinking of you at their meal away from home!
  • DO! stagger your gift card options. Instead of putting a significant amount of money on one card, to only one store, how about buying a few different cards, to different stores. Rather than a $100 gift card to one clothing store your giftee likes, buy two gift cards at $50 each, to two of their favorite stores. It's like getting two different gifts!
  • DON'T! forget to read the fine print about those gift cards you'll be buying. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers advice for buying, giving, and using gift cards, ensuring that the gift you give won't end up being a hassle to the one you love.


So, the bottom line: if you really want to buy someone a clothing item as a present, here's the ONLY
exception I'm okay with: unless you are led by the hand, by the giftee (the person you are buying the gift for), to the particular clothing item that they want in the store (or if the giftee points it out to you online, or in an ad or catalogue), and they look you in the eye and point to the item saying, "I WANT THIS ARTICLE OF CLOTHING! I LOVE IT! BUY IT FOR ME PLEASE!" THEN, AND ONLY THEN, should you consider buying someone tangible clothing as a gift. If that scenario doesn't happen, then this should be your mantra, "I'd like to purchase a gift card please!" That way you can buy them clothing…but not the tangible kind.

 

Got that? Great!

Model: Vicki Gianfagna

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What do I talk about? What if something’s in my teeth? Do I pay, or does he?

Welcome to the wonderful world of dating and all the questions that go along with it. While some aspects of dating etiquette are quite apparent, others may be less obvious. Most people know the basics; be ready on time, be yourself, don’t talk about your ex, etc. But alas, there’s more! There’s another important piece of the dating puzzle to remember; in other words, prepare what you wear!

Believe it or not, there are datewear do’s and don’ts that go hand in hand with master dating protocol. One wardrobe slipup can make a hopeful date a disaster, and doom you from the dating world forever! You have a choice; so don’t be a casualty of bad datewear. Follow this list of simple dos and don’ts to make your wardrobe and dating life a fabulous pair!

DO! ask what the plans are so you can dress accordingly. Three-inch heels don’t ride well at a horse farm, and flip flops won’t cut it at The Precinct. Avoid this problem by asking your date what is on the agenda. Once you know the setting, you’re open to make a better fashion choice for your promising date with destiny.

DO! find out what your date will be wearing. Not only should you know what the occasion is, you should also ask what duds your date will be donning. Knowing the destination doesn’t necessarily mean you and your gentleman friend will have the same ideas about appropriate wardrobe.

DO! look into the temperature and plan your fashion forecast accordingly. Although it’s nice to witness his gentlemanly gesture to offer his coat, bring a jacket if it gets chilly. This will ensure your comfort level, so your genuine light can heat up the room.

DO! dress in a way that makes you comfortable. Wear something you know flatters you, but won’t make you fidget throughout the evening. Pulling at your dress or fixing your neckline all night will take away time you could be spending gazing in each other’s eyes.

DON’T! overdo it. You’re excited about the date, understandable. But that doesn’t mean double the blush, double the eye shadow and fake lashes three feet long. Let your date see the real you by spending your time getting ready complimenting your features. Spending extra time on you is one thing, looking like bobo the clown is another.

DON’T!
dress like someone you’re not. Dressing in disguise is just as bad as behaving in a way that masks the real you. The whole point of dating is to get to know someone with the possibility of a future relationship. As we all know, first impressions mean a lot. Let your date see the real you, not what you think they want to see. Dressing yourself is dressing comfortably. Dressing comfortably allows you to open up and be yourself for all the world, and your date, to see!

DON’T!
bare too much skin. You know the line between sexy and slutty ladies, so walk it. Think about first impressions and make sure you’re expressing who you are. At the same time, don’t be afraid to show off your curves. There is nothing wrong about making a lasting impression, i.e., your date’s eyes bugging out; but just remember if you’re starting to feel uncomfortable or unsure, there’s probably a reason.

DON’T! rush around last minute. Plan ahead so your fabulous date time wardrobe fits the above criteria, and you’ll be stress free to boot. Rushing can make you miss little things you wouldn’t normally forget. Is there time to iron your shirt? Did you notice the food stains on your blouse? Rushing with your attire can make you to lose confidence and want a new fashion choice mid date.

When making the trip to the wonderful world of dating, make it first class. Follow these easy tips to avoid any fashion faux pas that could ruin a possible love connection. Planning ahead, dressing comfortably and being yourself will help the real you shine and leave plenty of precious time to be spent on each other. Remember, dating should be fun. Dress your best fashionistas, and you’ll have one lucky date!

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Models: Missy Scalia, Matt Reinhardt

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So I'm the last person in the world to be giving fashion advice to anyone-you wouldn't really be able to tell by looking at me, it's kinda like the stereotype of the makeup artist that hardly wears any makeup, or the hairstylist who wears her hair pulled back into a ponytail all the time…that's me – I don't look like I know anything about fashion, but in reality, I really have a good eye for what works best on others.

So hopefully you've read all the other fantastic fashion articles by the lovely Cincy Chic ladies, and are well equipped with all the fashion advice you can stomach, because here, I'll be offering fashion advice from a different angle: from Mo's unconventional fashion viewpoint.

Do What Feels Right!

For me, I equate fashion with comfort. That's just how I roll. If I'm not comfortable in what I'm wearing, I don't feel right. If my feet heart in 'em, I kick 'em off. If it's too tight, I tear it off immediately. If it makes me feel "not me" for a moment, it's a no-no. So, that's my first rule: wear what makes you feel comfortable, because if you are cinched into an ensemble that makes you feel like a robot, then you can't be yourself.

Being You = Confidence

I know I'm making some fashionistas cringe right now, (Regan, Carolyn, Amy, and Missy, bear with me please!) but remember this is my turn to give advice here! For me, I can only be truly confident, if I am true to myself, regardless of what the magazines and Anna Wintour declares.

My second and last fashion tip that I live by: if you're standing in front of a floor-length mirror, at this very moment (while simultaneously reading this article), just after slipping on the latest fashion trend, and the real you isn't staring back at you, take it off and fling it into the corner, as far away from your body as possible!

You've heard people say, "that's so you!" or, conversely, "that doesn't look like you at all!" What does that mean? Well, that means the true essence of your personality has been temporarily hidden behind clothes. If, as you're looking in the mirror, you have lost that sense of "you," you'll more than likely lose the sense of confidence to pull it off; at least that's what happens to me. If, for one second I feel like I'm dressing for someone else, or for that matter, look like someone else, I immediately loose the look.

A Makeover Isn't Necessarily a Good Thing

No one can deny the makeover mania that has taken over daytime talk shows and the morning news shows. Everyone from Oprah and Tyra, to the Today Show, regularly feature segments and entire shows of taking some fashion-clueless person and making them undergo a barrage of hair, makeup and wardrobe changes, always resulting in the individual in a split-screen-before-and-after-makeover that literally transforms them into a new person.

And that's exactly what I have a problem with. I am not against the idea of someone trying to improve their look, but I'm adamantly opposed to a transformation that leaves the person unrecognizable to their family and friends, and most importantly to the person themselves. When someone looks into a mirror and says, "It doesn't even look like me," that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing.

Oprah recently did a hair-makeover show on 100 people (99 women and one man) that were truly remarkable, but what I found most disturbing about the show, was Oprah kept repeating to the makeoverees, "You don't even look like yourself!"…"I would have never guessed that was you!" One man even proclaimed that he would probably get in trouble with his wife if she knew he was going home with this "other woman."

If I go through a makeover and come out looking like some other chick, I would be incredibly insulted that my mate didn't appreciate the real me and how I looked before, pre-makeover! I don't want to remind my mate of some other chick…I want to remind him of me.

It's a Societal Thing

The madness behind this makeover mania, to me, stems from society's incessant bombardment of making us feel inadequate with ourselves. From billboards, fashion magazines, television, and catwalks, we are always being pressured to trade in our old selves for newer, brighter, trendier, shinier, slimmer, and completely unrecognizable versions of our former selves. The real question should be: "What's wrong with the way I am?!"

So what if you aren't wearing the latest stuff, and you hair isn't angled just so? Who cares?! If you are living a life that is full of happiness, quality and joy, does being fashionable really matter? Why do we, and by we, I mean human kind, place so much emphasis on appearance? We should be less concerned and wrapped up in what we wear on our backs, and more concerned with our heart and character.

Mo's Parting Advice

So where am I going with all of this? Where's the fashion advice that you've been looking forward to? Well, I warned you in the beginning, there would really be none of that here. Here's what I have to say in a nutshell:

Yes, buying a new outfit, that makes you feel and look hot is really nice, but that shouldn't consume us. After all, it's just clothes. Actually, if you want to really get technical, clothes are just pieces of fabric in different colors and textures that have been sewn together into interesting shapes and patterns.

So let's just keep that in mind, and focus on the more important things in life.

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Lifestyle Design Center
Model: Vicki Gianfagna

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You’ve got a catchy name above your awning, your doors are wide open and you’ve taken care of every inane detail about your business — so now it’s time to devote some attention to yourself. And your wardrobe.

Because, whether we like it or not, owning a business is about creating an image, and if the way you look doesn’t match the image of your company, you could be going in the red rather than the black. Cincy Chic has some easy-to-incorporate advice for helping you dress like a savvy business owner.

Dress Appropriately

There are clothes that you wear for a night out on the town: sky-high heels, slinky tops and form-fitting pants; and then there are the clothes you should be wearing to best represent yourself and your business. It is very important to know the difference. Wearing low-cut tops and other sexually-suggestive clothing can send potential and existing clients the wrong impression; mainly, wearing the wrong clothes can make you appear unprofessional, something that could spell doom for a business-owner.

If you have trouble figuring out what is business appropriate, ask an honest friend, your significant other, or better yet, your mother (someone who is guaranteed to tell you the truth). Ask whichever person you choose to go through your closet with you, separating what is business appropriate from everyday or evening wear. Then organize your clothes according to category, so that when you’re dressing for a long day managing a company you can just grab and go; without having to search through hangers full of the wrong kind of clothing in the early morning.

Classic is Key

A second great way to dress like a business owner is to invest in classic pieces that will never go out of style, and will always look great when you’re doing what you do best. Looking for a few examples of classic wardrobe additions as classic as Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O? How about pencil skirts, black pumps, button-down tops, trench coats, trouser pants, anything houndstooth, plaid or pearls? Incorporate clothing classics like those into your closet rotation and you’ll be confidently striding through the entrance of your business before you can say “CEO.” Aside from the never-go-out-of-style and always-professional benefits of clothing such as the ones listed above is the added advantage of staying power—if, that is, you’re willing to spend a little more than you might usually on clothing. Here’s the thing: spending a bit more on these classic pieces will make them last as long as they’re fashionable: forever! Well, not forever, but high-quality clothing is worth the squeeze on your wallet.

Tailor Made

Now you know what not to wear and which parts of your wardrobe are forever, it’s time to tailor those pieces to your body. Nothing is more detrimental to a put-together look than clothes that don’t fit correctly.

You know what we’re talking about. Sleeves so long your hands disappear, pant legs so long you get rolls of fabric gathering at your ankles and let’s not forget that that great blazer that fits in the shoulders, but when it comes to your waist, it’s nothing more than a bag. These problems are fairly easy and not too expensive to fix, and the end result is worth the extra effort of picking up a phone book and taking your clothes to a tailor.

No longer will you scour the racks for a perfect fitting pant or jacket, no longer will you pass by the skirt of your dreams because it doesn’t fit you in the waist. Tailor it! That way, when you’re conducting your business, you won’t just look like a fashion-conscious woman; you’ll look like a fashion-conscious woman who knows exactly what she wants and knows how to make it happen! Which, hey, you were anyway, but now you’ll look like it. By the way, when looking to get your clothes tailored, be sure to buy clothes that are roomier or a size bigger than you wear—that way, you give your tailor more room to work with. It’s much harder to tailor up than down.

Throw in a Bit of You

You’ve said “no way, josé” to your “After 5” wear and pulled off a classic look tailored to your body. Now, for the finishing touch: a piece of you. Do you treasure an antique cameo your grandmother gave you? Wear it! Your mother found you up a beautiful scarf in France? Wrap it! Does your “cancer survivor” bracelet give you a sense of pride? Rock it! That’s what separates the fashion-savvy ladies from the fashion wannabees: the ability to wear what is office appropriate and fashionable, but still making that look personal. Think of the fashion world more as guidelines for your fashion statement, rather than your Bible. That way, you’ll still be fit to hit the runway (and your office), but you’ll experience the added advantage of expressing yourself with your ensemble of choice.

Now that’s something to CEO-brate.

Photo Credits
Model: Missy Scalia