Even if you've been reading fashion magazines all year, looking your best for the last big bash of the year can be a crap shoot. Lyon Davidson, a manager at Hermes Boutique at Cuffs (18 East Orange Street, Chagrin Falls, 440-247-2828) , provides some timeless fashion pointers for men and women. She says to remember that just because a look is popular, it might not be right for you.
"Go with your own personality," says Lyon. "Don't buy into every trend you see. Everyone is different. If you're more bohemian, you're not going to look right in a structured suit. It has to match your personality and flow from within. You have to feel comfortable with what you're wearing, and if you don't you'll know right away."
Ladies, as you enter 2007, know that looking good doesn't mean dressing skimpy. Showing everything you have all at once is so 2001.
"Covering up is in right now," says Lyon. "Definitely. No more midriff baring not too much cleavage and legs. It's about mystery. The Britney Spears moment is gone. Do one thing, not everything; highlight what's positive and what you feel best about about your body. If you enjoy wearing a strapless dress, a great way to show off your shoulders is to keep it simple. Wear black you can't go wrong with black and then wear something totally unexpected, like a black, elbow-length pair of cashmere gloves."
And all that talk about the new black? When you get right down to it, black is the new black. Ladies, you might even take a few cues from the men.
"Go with the idea of the tuxedo," Lyon suggests. "It's different for women, but the idea works as well your typical black blazer and pant. Or with a skirt. Or it can be paired in different ways. You can wear a simple jacket, and if you want to be really daring, wear nothing underneath just button it. And really jazz it up with some elegant jewelry. Practically every woman has a business suit. I tell ladies that you could even go out from the office to a New Year's Eve bash, just by changing your accessories around. Take off your blouse or top. Put on some really fabulous earrings and a great pump. And change your purse with a clutch, and that's an evening look."
And know when to lay off the finishing touches.
"People get uptight about dressing for the evening," warns Lyon. "You want to look like you just put it on. Don't get too bogged down in putting on too much. When you've got all your accessories on, take a look in the mirror, and take one thing away. The worst is to be overburdened with jewelry. Try just wearing a single gold earring. Or one simple, elegant, dynamite cuff on your arm."
Guys, if you don't want to put that much thought into what you're wearing, Lyon has a list of quick pointers about the small details that add up to elegance whether you're wearing a tux or looking casually sophisticated with an outfit straight from your closet.
"Think about your comfort level," says Lyon. "If you're comfortable in a three-piece suit, do it. Or a tuxedo, depending on the occasion. I think it's always important to be appropriate to your environment. If you're going to a club, you want to wear a really good-looking shirt that is cut well and fits you well. I can't stress how important fit is. Don't try to remember what your last shirt was. Take the time and get measured."
Colors: The Myth of Matching
"Stay in the same family of colors. Don't be afraid to mix navy or midnight and black. Don't get hung up with matching things."
"A tie does lighten up your face or make you look drab. Red is a great power color. We're seeing a lot of red ties being sold. Blue goes with everything. But we're also seeing a lot of purple and orange. There's nothing better than a touch of color in the middle of a room of blue suits."
There's Pants, and Then There's Pants
"We're seeing a lot of flat-front pants being sold, and I think it's very flattering. But pleats and cuffs are more formal."
"Our preference is that you buff out any scratches. You want the skin to look natural, but a bit of wear is not a bad thing."
Matching Jacket and Torso
"It depends on the man. Some men are boxier. Some are leaner. Consider your body type. If you're tall and thin, you don't want something voluminous and boxy. Everyone is different."
Wrap It Up With a Belt
"A belt finishes a look. It doesn't have to match perfectly. Find a deep, deep, deep brown, and that will match with black or brown shoes. Once you get so deep into brown, you can barely tell the difference."
And while an upscale boutique may have everything from formal gloves to a fitted imported shirt, remember that fashion is where you find it. And don't expect clothes to do all the work.
"You might opt for great trousers and a great button-down shirt by Charvet or Kiton," says Lyon. Or Ralph Lauren Purple Label, or the lines you can find at the mall. When somebody is comfortable and confident, that's all you need. That's what conveys a sophisticated look."