Since I have been in the fashion business for over 40 years, I have finally decided to close the closet door with my last column of "In Fashion." However, before I go, I thought I would share a few of my "aha moments" gleaned from decades of writing about fashion.
— My basic mantra is: If you look good, you'll feel good. Unless you live in a nudist colony, you get dressed every day. And although I learned long ago not to judge a person by the clothes he or she wears, if you love what you're wearing, then you'll have more self-confidence and radiate positive "vibrations," as we used to say in the '70s. And don't we all need more good vibrations in the world we are living in today?
— You can't go wrong with black — my no. 1 go-to that has always worked for me ever since I started working in retail years ago and couldn't afford high-priced designer clothes. Less costly brands always seem to look more expensive in black. I collected black velvet coats, black faux fur coats, black capes, etc. that I have worn for decades. Black suits always get you through an interview and, of course, you can never have enough little black dresses.
— Color can brighten your mood. I rely on my black basics, but that doesn't mean a little splash of bold color doesn't go a long way in lifting my spirits. I don't always follow the dictates of the color authority, Pantone, which now issues the "color of the year" edicts. The "it" color of 2020, "Classic Blue," is definitely a little on the boring side, and it certainly doesn't mean I don't enjoy my burgundies and teal blues all year long. We all tend to gravitate toward certain colors in our wardrobes and our home interiors. Yes, look around. The paint colors you use in your home probably show up in your wardrobe.
— Shoes can change your life. This is another one of my aha moments. I'm not quite in the Imelda Marcos category, but I do tend to stalk the shoe sales online and at my favorite stores. There's nothing like changing up a whole outfit with a pair of new shoes. I've had several pairs of black cowboy boots over the years, and my pointy-toe Donald Pliner embroidered mules have long been jewelry for my feet. With so many heel heights to choose from, and comfort technology in chic styles, there's an unending array of footwear to invest in ... and you can never go wrong with animal prints — the new classic.
— Accessories are worth the splurge. Shoes are just one way to go the extra style mile, but think about collecting handbags, jewelry and scarves. They can transform those basic outfits and quadruple the looks in your wardrobe. That black turtleneck and black trousers can go from boring to fabulous just with the addition of a vintage handbag, dangling earrings and an oversized faux fur shawl. The accessories I'm into this year are fuzzy fur cuffs that instantly change the look of sweaters and jackets.
— Think about the "wow" factor. If you've got a "uniform" that you wear day in and day out, adding a statement top or jacket will act just like the accessories mentioned above. I jazz up my basic black core pieces with embroidered jackets, faux fur vests or textured sweater coats. This is also the perfect place to add that extra splash of color. The same basics can transcend all seasons with this formula. I try to scout out at least one "wow" piece every year. This year it was a shaggy fur cape, and I have worn it with everything from jeans to velvet skirts.
— Focus on your best assets. The biggest aha moment I ever have had was this one: Instead of always thinking about the pounds I haven't lost, I focus on making the best of a body that isn't perfect. Fashion designers have made it possible to play up our best features and downplay the ones that don't work for us. Between advances in shapewear and extended sizes, we can create our best personal style and have fun updating it every year.
— It's not about your budget. You may have all the money in the world to spend on clothes, but it really boils down to how you put your outfits together that matters. That's what style is all about. You can find treasures at flea markets, vintage stores, discount malls and sales at designer boutiques. And if you really want to splurge on something special, go for it. Then wear the heck out of it.
— Be you. Your wardrobe should reflect you and your own personality. I've always dressed to make myself happy, not other people. My husband, who has been a fan of mine for 42 years, has always said that most men do not pay as much attention to what women wear as women think they do! And he's also still trying to figure out what the word "silhouette" means!
— One more aha moment: Especially in this time of global uncertainty, there are always the "helpers." The fashion industry has stepped up to get creative with issues such as climate change, sustainability, and, yes, even the coronavirus. Huge shoutout to designer, "Project Runway" star and fashion friend Christian Siriano, whose team is now sewing hundreds of masks for medical professionals.
— Change has always been the name of the fashion game. And as the world continues to change, we all can adopt an attitude of gratitude and resolve to have a great life full of love and good vibrations. Now, get out there and find a great pair of shoes!
To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.