Style Smarts: Image Consultant Cheryl Lampard On Dressing For Your Current Lifestyle
Have a closet full of clothes, and still feel like you’ve got nothing to wear?
Do you pair the same things together every.single.time you wear them?
Is your wardrobe boring the heck outta you?
Ladies, if you’re whittling away precious minutes agonizing before getting dressed each day or stuck in a style rut, this post is for YOU!
Many FBPers residing on the Gulf Coast may know image consultant/personal branding expert Cheryl Lampard, Founder and CEO of Style Matters International, via her popular monthly style column in our glossy Gulfshore Life, where she doles out judicious wardrobe advice.
Or perhaps you watched Fox News’s coverage of 2018’s Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, where this UK ex-pat’s talent was tapped for live commentary.
Lampard’s great energy and expertise really came to life for me when the brilliant Amy Oshier, host and producer extraordinaire of ABC7’s Behind the Headlines, delved into why each of us needs someone like Cheryl to rock our lewk. You can watch the video here.
FBP reached out to Lampard for summer wardrobe advice. She agreed to meet for a chat and I agonized what to wear. Settling on a 2-piece sky blue Saga ensemble. (She liked it. Whew!)
Consider her an image disruptor. There are stylists, fashion editors, and influencers, but after (ahem) decades working in an image-driven biz, I’d never before met a philosopher who possesses a unique POV with an all-encompassing approach to presenting YOUR best self 365.
Before I dive into my Q+A with her, here are what I consider Lampard’s best tips and need-to-knows.
1. Shop for the lifestyle you have now. Like most women, Cheryl’s typical client wears only 20% of the garments in her closet. “Given lifestyle changes and shifting priorities, most wardrobes reveal the woman you were, the woman you are, plus the woman you want to be,” Lampard notes. “Whatever you spend most of your time doing, that should guide where your money is spent. Too many times, we overspend on special occasion outfits, leaving less budget for everyday garments. Unless yours is endless, it can be cause for regret, especially for items you wear only once.”
2. Clothing size is meaningless. “I’ve seen women buy a smaller size rather than go to the next size up,” says Lampard. “Not when they’re with me they don’t! I don’t care what the size on the label is. Sizing isn’t consistent. Manufacturers and brands size their clothing as they please – because we can try things on. One brand’s 10 could be a 6 or even a 14 in another brand! It doesn’t make sense to worry about the label. It’s vanity sizing, and it’s not helpful.”
3. Tailoring is crucial. “Tailoring should be the norm for women as it is for men,” Lampard insists. “If you’ve invested the money in a garment, invest in having it tailored too.”
4. Shopping should be done alone. “Those closest to you may not understand the changes you’re seeking and want to embrace,” Lampard explains. “Or perhaps unconsciously, they only see you in a particular light. Sometimes it’s better to leave your friends and partners at home.”
Every time I’ve opened my closet since meeting her, it was as if I had Lampard sitting on my shoulders. I’ve yet to part with several LBDs and other fun frocks meant for cooler climates and formal-ish surroundings…from the woman I was.
These items — which I’ve not worn in Florida — are taking roughly 25% of my closet space, though it’s been four years since I left NYC and worked a full-time PR gig. Though properly organized, dozens of designer slingbacks, stilettos, black boots and other shoes not worn since moving here clog up my closet.
You get the picture.
Determining your “right now style” is like writing your LinkedIn bio page: it’s difficult to articulate what makes you special. It often takes someone who doesn’t know you well to objectively recognize your gorgeous potential.
Lampard does that, albeit in a medium of clothing, hair, makeup and more.
Okay, on to our Q+A…
FBP: Why is it so tricky to find affordably chic clothes in Florida?
LAMPARD: You’d think it would be easy wouldn’t you, here in the heat? There are some great pieces here but maybe because we don’t have seasons, we see the same type of things all the time and we get bored with seeing them. I pick up a lot of summery things when I travel; even in the UK where summers can be variable, there seems to be more choice in seasonal styles, perhaps because they’re only available for a short period of time.
FBP: What are the best fabrics for our hot summers? What fabrications cover the body without making someone a Sweaty Betty?
LAMPARD: I love linen but I know a lot of people in Florida don’t because it creases. That said, there are linen blends that don’t crease as much, but it’s part of the character of the fabric. Heavier, jacket/coat weight linens don’t tend to crease as much but you have to learn to love linen and the fact it’s high maintenance. I find a lot of people here want wash & wear – you can’t do that with linen.
Choose airy cottons, gauze-y fabrics and combinations of Pima cotton knits for fine tees and drapey dresses. Bamboo is another great fabric for the heat. There are some very good synthetic fibers but you want them in woven, lightweight garments, not close-fitting items that stick to you.
FBP: Many women here seem to wear the same things: I see the exact Lilly/Chico’s/Gretchen Scott styles on so many. What’s your advice for customizing your look?
LAMPARD: It’s more relaxed here and many people just want to be comfortable, so there’s obviously a market for those looks. Some brands are immediately identifiable (great brand recognition on their part!) so if you want to make it your own, put it together differently from the way the store styles it.
-Resist the urge to pair a busy print with white pants – it’s too predictable
-Try mixing prints. Keep a connection with the color or the pattern, but add interest with another print.
-Add some bold accessories, maybe lots of bangles in contrasting colors.
Sometimes the unexpected changes the look of the entire thing. Try a kimono style top instead of a done-to-death tunic.
FBP: What do you consider the best pieces/accessories for pulling your look together?
LAMPARD: An updated new haircut is a fabulous accessory. If you wear glasses, make them part of your style, not just an item that you need to wear. After all, they’re on your face! Use them to make a statement about who you are. Glasses are like catnip to me.
The simpler the outfit, the bolder you can be with accessories. An oversize pair of earrings paired with a simple fitted shirt can look amazing. But whatever you do, it has to be right for your personality. If you’re not someone who’s comfortable with a dramatic piece, it’ll wear YOU, and you should be wearing IT.
FBP: With shorts, how do you determine the best length? Many women go too short, too long, too baggy. Or do you hate shorts altogether?
LAMPARD: It depends on a few things, including how confident you are showing your legs and how you feel about them. As a general rule, mid-length (7”-8” inseam) is the safest length, but make sure the hemline doesn’t cut across the widest point of your leg. Instead, select a length that hits where your leg is narrower. Shorts with slimmer leg styles are generally more flattering. The wider the shorts leg, the wider you’ll appear. So if you’re hippy, or have heavier thighs (as I do), shorts can be tricky, and a skirt might be better. Or try culottes.
(Di’s note: my biggest fashion regret was a pair of baggy white Bottega Veneta shorts scored for $44 at the annual Barneys Warehouse sale. I wanted to rock them, but after husband’s eyes popped with shock, they’ve been relegated to the “Things I don’t wear anymore” drawer.)
FBP: I have the same issue with pants + capris: Lisettes/Up/Ribikoff - really clone-y and often the wrong leg length. I can't imagine wrapping my legs in these fabrications during warm weather. Are there better options?
LAMPARD: Capris can look really frumpy if they end mid-calf as they hit at widest part of leg. Lower calf or ankle length are best, and avoid wide-leg style capris. And cropped, flared pants in clingy knits rarely work. Again, I think a breezy palazzo pant is much more comfortable, looks more contemporary and it can be dressed up or down. Even more fashion forward – try a jumpsuit!
FBP: True or false: Is there such a thing as age-appropriate dressing?
LAMPARD: I know what it’s supposed to mean but I hate the phrase! Occasion appropriate – yes. Business appropriate – yes. But age appropriate? I see 70-year-olds and 40-year-olds wearing the same items, and sometimes the 70-year-old is wearing it better than her younger counterpart!
There’s a difference in looking and dressing youthfully as opposed to dressing to look young. The most stylish older women are those who get that, and understand what works for them, their body shape and who they are. Ultimately, confidence is what matters. If you’re confident in how you look and feel fabulous in what you wear, keep doing it.
If you’re having a tough time navigating your desired look on your own, contact Lampard at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit stylemattersinternational.com for inspiration. While her HQ is Naples, she travels for clients and has offices in Atlanta and London.
Trust me, her professional advice will change how you look at your world of style for the better, as it did mine. On that note, here are two looks I’m coveting this summer after speaking to her:
Cute TIBI Jumpsuit
Nordstrom, please call me when this goes on sale. It’s perfect year-round in Florida!
This J McLaughlin look speaks to me!