Couture versus Ready-to-Wear

Written by Diana Pemberton-Sikes

Continued from page 1

If you like to readrepparttar society pages to see who's wearing what, you'll notice that socialites who can afford to buy couture often say so. The caption under a photo might read, "Jane Doe in Versace, Susan Smith in Donna Karan, and Tiffany Jones in Givenchy couture." Translation? Jane and Susan bought their gowns ready-to-wear, while Tiffany had hers custom made.

So should YOU indulge in designer labels as your income allows?

It depends.

Yes, designer labels have a certain cachet and are associated with an elevated income, and yes, you can look like you have a lot more money than you do by buying your favorite labels at discount designer websites or at overstock retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshall's.

But you have to be careful ofrepparttar 141986 message you're sending.

If you're a receptionist dressing like a jet setter, it will raise eyebrows - particularly your employer's. Your boss may wonder how you're funding your clothing obsession. Are you living in a dive and driving a junk heap? Maxing out your credit cards? Skimming a little offrepparttar 141987 company coffers (which is how one fashionable thief was caught, showing up to work every day in designer apparel)? Whateverrepparttar 141988 reason, unless you're very vocal about how you cleverly come by your high-end finds, your luxury image may have your higher-ups questioning your ability to handle money - and stall your career in its tracks.

Similarly, if you have a job with a typically high income (doctor, lawyer, stock broker) but are running around in discount apparel, you'll have people wondering just how bad you are at your job that you're not able to afford nicer things. True, illness, school loans, job losses, and other financial hardships happen, even to people with high incomes. But if you're dressing discount in a designer environment, people will begin to question your ability - and your income will suffer. Call it human nature.

So how can you dress appropriately for your income WITHOUT raising eyebrows? By keepingrepparttar 141989 number of labels you wear in line withrepparttar 141990 amount of your paycheck.

If you have a lower income, one or two pieces by your favorite designer (like a jacket or pair of jeans) would not be out of line - provided you buy them second hand (like on eBay) or at an overstock outlet like Loehmann's or TJ Maxx.

Have a higher income? A status handbag, watch, or pair of shoes will instantly telegraph your position. Even if you don't care about such things, your status-y clients will, and since people talk, you may be surprised by how your business grows by adding a few of these pieces to your wardrobe.

And who knows? If you playrepparttar 141991 game right and meet your goals, you may someday find yourself seriously contemplating whether you should buy a special piece ready-to-wear, or have your favorite designer whip it up just for you from his couture collection...

Not sure whether your designer brands are sending the right message? Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of "Business Wear Magic," an ebook that shows women how to dress appropriately at every rung of the ladder. Visit her online at .

Fashion After 40

Written by Diana Pemberton-Sikes

Continued from page 1

Now I know that covering uprepparttar parts that used to turn heads and draw envy can be tough to take for some women. Which is precisely why beautiful jewelry and fine fabrics arerepparttar 141985 revenge tools of choice for many well-dressed mature women.

So your bustline isn't as perky as your twenty-something daughter or granddaughter. So what? Add a beautiful necklace and draw envious glances from women of all ages. Don't haverepparttar 141986 same backside you did as a teen? Encase it in a fine fabric and see how many men go out ofrepparttar 141987 way to holdrepparttar 141988 door open for you. People will look where you focus their attention, so use that knowledge to redirect their interest torepparttar 141989 parts you want them to see.

Or, as actress Cybil Shepard once said, "I like to flaunt what I have left."

Don't flip through fashion magazines and bemoanrepparttar 141990 fact that you don't look likerepparttar 141991 models. Instead, look atrepparttar 141992 various fashion elements to determine what will and won't work for you. Are printed scarves allrepparttar 141993 rage this year? Grab a few and be trendy. Are mini skirtsrepparttar 141994 style of choice? Pass and bank your money.

See how easy this is?

"A woman hasrepparttar 141995 age she deserves," Coco Chanel once said. You don't have to go under cover and dress "like a little old lady" just because that's what your mother or grandmother did. You're your own person.

If you remember to dress in clean lines and classic styles and cover appropriately, you can still be fashionable - AND draw long, lingering glances from handsome men -- whatever your age. And if THAT doesn't make you feel like a blushing girl again, then honey, nothing I can say will!

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of "Wardrobe Magic," an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online at .

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