"It the unseen, the unforgettable, the ultimate accessory of fashion that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure."
- Coco Chanel
What do you wear when you want to make an amazing first impression? For instance, what do you choose when you are starting a new job, new school, attending a fabulous event, or just going to a party where you know your ex (with his new love) will also be at. There are a few houses who seem to specialize in show-stopping gowns like Gucci, de la Renta, and of course Versace. However, if you want to be unique, never underestimate the menswear look. Think Angelina Jolie in a white Dolce and Gabbana tuxedo at the Oscars a few years ago, or go old-school and emulate Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. They knew that androgynous clothes on a shapely figure were sexier and more intriguing than showing acres of skin. In some cases, too much is too much!
When you are beginning a new job or going to a new school, you want to come across as intelligent, confident, and approachable. The key to this kind of look is a well-cut jacket that nips in your waist in a color that flatters you, but never black, gray, navy, or khaki. Dull neutrals tend to fade into the background, and flatter no one's face. For example, try on a turquoise or magenta jacket, and then put on black - which one makes your skin glow and eye color pop? Different colors look good on different people of course - you can go to www.colormebeautiful.com if you are clueless about which shades work for you. Or, you can just think about what gets you the most compliments; is it the sky-blue turtleneck or the rust-orange scarf? Then you can look for similar tones when you shop.
Next, you need a pair of fantastic pants. There are as many kinds of pants as there are shapes of women, and you may need to try on a lot of pairs before you find the best ones (hint - bring an honest friend). However, a mid-rise bootcut works on almost everyone. These can be neutral, but try out different, less basic, neutrals. For instance, go for a chocolate brown with a coral jacket, or an olive with a lemon yellow top. As much as we all love black (believe me, half my closet is black), color makes you stand out and will liven up your face as much as a new lipstick. Try wearing a button down or camisole under your jacket that matches either the color of the pants or jacket (again, too much can just be too much).
Next, you need to consider your shoes and bag. Nothing works as well as sky-scraper heels to add height and flatter the figure. However, if you can't walk in them, leave them on the rack. Do try to wear the sexiest shoes you are comfortable walking around in. After all, shoes are the foundation of your look and affect your gait, mood, and general comfort level. Never skimp on the shoes, and always remember that the perfect pair will make any outfit. Your bag does not have to match your shoes exactly, but they should coordinate. You can bring another shade with the shoes and bag - but keep it in the family. For example, lime green would work with a teal or kelly green jacket. Most importantly, the hardware on your bag, jewelry, and shoes should be the same metal.
Last but most definitely not least, you must consider jewelry. Earrings are as good, or better than, makeup when it comes to bringing out the eyes. Try earrings with stones the same color as your eyes, or go for contrast - red with green eyes, orange with blue, etc. Think opposites on the color wheel. Necklaces can draw eyes to your cleavage, which is good both if you have something to show off or want to boost what you've got. Finally, watches, bracelets and rings can add an extra bit of polish to any outfit. As far as the colors in your jewels, you can't go wrong with basic silver or gold, or pick up one of the colors in your outfit, preferably the bright one. Jewelry is where you can get a bit crazy, even in the most conservative setting. And of course, for nights out, too much sparkle is never enough.