Fashion Forward

Summertime, similarly to Christmas time, makes people happy. The winter gloom has lifted and the sunshine of a new season is both literally and figuratively covering everyone’s face. In fashion, summer is a great time because it opens up the color palate a lot more and allows some of that skin to be shown off that’s been covered up by those sweaters and scarves all winter.

But what does that mean for the workplace in the summer? I’m virtually positive, unless you work at a water park, any office deems spaghetti straps or bikini tops inappropriate attire. So then, what to wear, what to wear? Let me help you out with that, so you don’t gain any worry lines on that newly tanned face of yours.

It’s almost summer, relax a little! Choose from lighter fabrics, like cotton and linens, because those heavy sweater and polyester suit days are behind you (for at least the next 4 months or so).

In lighter fabrics, black and grey simply will not work, so choose creams and khaki colors to open up your mood and wardrobe colors for the summer. And dependent upon your place of work and their dress policy, you could also add some more casual pieces to your summer wardrobe in order to tone down the seriousness of it for summer time.

For example, pairing a sharp white tank or blouse with a nice summer tone blazer and a dark pair of jeans could work out perfectly for you. Target carries some great blazers for under $35 by Mossimo in several great summer colors.

My choice, simply because it’s my favorite color and it’s a great one to show off a tan, is the pink sateen blazer. Pair it with Mossimo’s dark wash jeans for $28 and you have two great key pieces for work or for play. But, don’t go too casual. Those shorts, bikini tops and spaghetti straps should be left at home for a day on the beach or at a picnic, not at the office. I did say relax, but I didn’t say it was a pool party.

My personal favorites for summer office wear are dresses. One piece of clothing to deal with, and they usually keep you cooler than some of those work pants, no matter what the fabric is made of.

Summer dresses are usually flattering to any woman’s shape, and with simple structure and lines and in great patterns and colors, they pair very well for a relaxed work wardrobe for the summer. Again, watch for a too casual approach to this. Bra straps should stay hidden and so should most of your legs; it’s work not a backyard barbeque.

If you find appropriate dresses that are strapless or do have thin straps, make sure to cover up with a light cardigan or summer weight jacket; they always can make the even most casual of dress into something work perfect. Target has a really nice selection of dresses all times of the year, but I definitely have always found great options for summer there.

Take the Merona ruffle front elastic waisted dress in several colors for only $25. This is a really light dress but is just dressed up enough with the ruffles to wear to work and out to happy hour once it’s quittin’ time. Lace is still a great accent on clothes right now, so this bright, sunny yellow antique lace, sleeveless dress by Merona for $28 is a perfect choice for your summer work wardrobe.

If you choose wisely for work and play, you can incorporate most of each for both occasions; this yellow lace dress would also be perfect for a summer wedding or nice dinner out. And as I mentioned, a little skin is okay, but limit your hemlines to the knee or just above, and keep that cardigan on hand for any meetings you may have, regardless of your age.

Ahhh, summer shoes. Quite possibly one of my favorite parts about summer is finding some great new heeled sandals, wedges or any open toe variety there is. Just because you’re going to work doesn’t mean you have to continue to wear those black, closed toe heels every day.

Open toes usually are accepted at any work place if they are heeled, or a tad dressier and that your feet are properly manicured and clean. Because really, who wants to see your feet the way they probably looked in the winter?

There are so many great choices in shoes for the summer, for work and play, in both heels and flats. Just keep in mind for your flat sandals that I am absolutely not talking about the $2 flip-flops we all love from Old Navy; those are better kept for weekends at the beach.

Target always has some of the cutest shoes for the best prices (trust me, I’ve done the leg work). The Pam wedge sandal by Mossimo for $25 is a perfect choice for summer, for any place you’d like to wear it.

In a neutral color with its neutral cork bottom, it will add some flair to any outfit without taking too much away from the rest of your outfit. Any type of wedge or flat like this is very appropriate for work, as long as you can keep those feet pretty.

For the most part, summer work fashion is very simple to adapt to and it can add some color and calm to your already jam-packed summer schedule.

Have fun with your clothes; bright colors, flowery patterns, nautical themes all are a playful way to change that dull work wardrobe into a relaxed, light way to keep your work self in that summer mode. And as always, that smile is simply the best accessory I could ever suggest and it goes with everything in your closet. I promise.

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Fashion Forward – It’s who I am

Who is Jackie Morone? Well, I am a 31-year-old woman who lives and breathes fashion. I always have had a classic sense of fashion, falling in love with vintage pieces of my grandmothers’ during childhood visits.

While attending Penn State’s main campus, my love affair with hot fashion and personal style grew leaps and bounds. I saw so many different trends on different types of people, and I realized that ANYONE can be fashion forward while holding on to their own personal style.

Moving back to our little area, I noticed I always was asked where I had gotten my shoes, my clothes, my purses or even how did I learn to do my makeup.

Just because we live in Smalltown, USA, doesn’t mean there is a law against practicing today’s current fashion trends or “big city style.”

I hope I can help inspire you to start pushing your own style forward, gaining self confidence and opening your eyes to the fashion world.

You’ll see that even by shopping locally you can be a fashionista without traveling to Paris or breaking your bank. Now, fashion forward we go!

Make sure to check out my Facebook page, www.face book.com/FashionForwardWithJackieMorone, to see matching pictures for the clothing I talk about in my column, as well as extra fashion advice, suggestions and answered fashion questions.