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Define Your Style

Trends come in all colors, sizes, and shapes. Each year, you'll discover some new ones, see a few that are familiar, and welcome back a few oldies, but goodies. Not all the trends you'll see will appeal to you, but take a closer look anyway. You could find a style that fits on the outside and makes you feel great on the inside.

Here are some tips to help you define your style:

•You'll see a little sparkle and shine in some of the fashions. If you find yourself taking a second look for the first time in your life, try that blouse, sweater, or scarf on. It's amazing what a little of shimmer can do. •White shirts are easy to find, always in style, and can be elegant when worn with a velvet or wool vest or casual with a denim jacket. You can add a plain belt or scarf (or both) to an oversized, long-sleeved button-down collar shirt and be office ready in a few minutes. Switch to a glitzy scarf and shiny belt and you can be set for an evening event fast. If scarves aren't your style, some big jewelry in gold or silver can be an elegant option.

•We often think all we need is a couple of pairs of classic dress pants (black and navy). That's true for at work but what about after hours? Sometimes a pair of ironed jeans - yes, with creases - and a nice belt paired with a turtle neck sweater in your signature color plus an accessory or two works for a dinner and movie night with your man or girlfriends. Another way to change the feel of an outfit is by changing from flats to boots. Straight-leg jeans look great when paired with tall boots. If add a plain white or ivory blouse (depending on your coloring) and a leather jacket or vest, you can be comfortable and in style - simply.

•Jackets offer a lot of styles to choose from. Black is often the big color of any season because it goes with most other colors, and we think it is a slenderizing color. You have so many color options, why limit yourself to black? Denim jackets can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. For lunch with the girls, a turtle neck in one of your signature colors and a scarf take a boring jacket to full-scale style in moments. Denim can also go elegant when worn over a basic shell with your favorite necklace and earrings. If you want to sparkle in your denim, wear a shell with some threads that glisten woven into the fabric or sequins under your jacket. Why not choose a couple of jackets in your best colors? From there, pick professional style and a casual style that fit your body and your personality. (Look in your closet first) It is important to consider your body shape when wearing jackets. If you're not comfortable in some of today's shorter jackets and find yourself trying to pull on yours to make it longer, consider a different length jacket - perhaps one that is mid-hip. The goal is to feel great.

Here's an exercise you might enjoy: take your jacket/s to your favorite clothing store, gather some shirts and blouses in colors that are in your color packet, or that you know you look great in. If you're feeling adventurous, take a couple in patterns or materials you might not normally choose. For fun, try a couple of colors in the same color lines as your instinctive favorites and grab a couple of scarves too. Try them all on with your jacket. On a limited budget, pick one fancy blouse and one plain because you can dress them both up or down with the creative use of accessories.

•Belts and hats are two accessories that sometimes don't get the attention they deserve.

Belts are a fun accessory, and if you love wearing them, they can change the "mood" of an outfit fast. You can start your business day wearing a classic belt for work and then switch to a western style for a casual evening event. Right now, snake-skin is in. Belts come in many colors and widths, finishes, and textures. If your favorite belt doesn't fit the loops on your dress pants, here's a simple solution: wear an oversized blouse and don't tuck it in. Now, wear your belt over the blouse. To dress it up, add a big scarf, a vest, or some gold or silver jewelry. You can also wear your favorite big scarf as your belt. You can twist it rope-style and tie it in back or wear it scarf-style off one hip. With scarves, you always have options.

No one wants hat-hair, so we tend to shy away from these fun outfit toppers. However, the recent wedding of Prince William and Kate renewed some interest in them. The important thing to remember is if you wear a hat to an event, you wear it for the entire event. Maybe you're simply not a hat lady, but you go for early morning walks. In a chilly or cold climate, hats are sometimes required head gear. They have the added benefit of cover up your bed-hair, and if you choose a color that compliments your morning skin, you can look and feel good while you're exercising or shoveling snow. If you have thick hair that isn't weighed down by a lightweight hat and think a little sass would brighten your style and day, try a beret placed slightly off center. Make sure it's in one of your best colors or a combination of them. With a plain or patterned scarf inside the collar of your coat, you can define your style and stay warm. For those of you who battle cold winds, but can't stand the thought of a hat, (they aren't for everyone) a large scarf worn loosely around your head is a good choice for both protection and style. They double up your style if they match your outfit as well; after removing your coat, simply slip the scarf around your shoulders. You can let the ends hang loose, flip one end over one shoulder, or take a long a scarf clip for a quick and easy fashion shift.

Take a look at your favorites already hanging in your closet. Can you think of a creative way to make an older piece of clothing look and feel new? You can look beautiful and define your style simply.