How to get a wardrobe out of the black

November 02, 1995|By Elsa Klensch

For years I have based my wardrobe on black. I don't have a lot of money or time to spend on clothes, and black makes me look slim. I was recently promoted, and part of my new job is to give talks about the company and its services.

I'm excited about it and willing to splurge on some new clothes. But not black. I want to look striking when I stand at the podium.

All colors look good with black, so whatever you buy will work with your wardrobe. But if you want to look striking, choose a bright because brights look stunning with black.

New York designer Gemma Kahng suggests red: "Everyone relates to it because it is so basic and strong. It also projects confidence."

If you feel nervous about the brightness of red, consider a jacket with a red trim.

"This could be the ideal balance for you and would be an invaluable addition to your wardrobe."

With your jacket Ms. Kahng suggests wearing a skirt, black hose and high heels.

I am 30 years old, have fair, freckled skin and red hair. I am 4-feet-9 and have a generous 38DD bust.

I have tried disguising my out-of-proportion figure by wearing floral blouses and high collars, but as a result I feel rather frumpy.

Although platform shoes have been my savior, giving me a few extra inches, I feel I need to re-evaluate my wardrobe to make me look taller and less busty. What do you suggest?

First of all, put away your floral blouses and high collars. They certainly will not make you look slimmer or taller.

What you must look for are clothes that give you a longer line. That includes V-necks rather than high ones, and solid colors rather than prints.

To give you more specific advice, I turned to Sylvia Spitalnick, an image consultant at Bloomingdale's in Manhattan.

She says you need "a look that is very linear. Try wearing an attractive little dress that falls from the shoulder, like a tent dress. Sleeveless or long-sleeved is fine, as long as it drapes from the shoulders. Then dress it up with different kinds of jewelry.

Ms. Spitalnick recommends buying a boxy jacket that doesn't hug the chest and wearing it with a matching bodysuit or unitard.

"For this look I recommend a low-slung belt. It pulls the attention away from your bust and will make you look taller."

As for the platform shoes, Ms. Spitalnick says they should go: "They are too clunky for you. Choose heels or a classic pump. Strappy sandals would look good on you, too.

"Most important is to avoid anything that is heavy or too detailed. It will break up the long, clean line you are striving for."

For weekends, Ms. Spitalnick suggests a jumpsuit. "It's the perfect line for you and could make you look very cute. Think 'lean' every time you try something on.

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