Monday, May 30, 2011

Elements of Good Design

“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” Oscar Wilde

You can count the elements of good design on one hand. Look for items that provide these five features and you’ll be a discerning shopper who has left the days of feeling like a desperate buyer in the dust!

  1. Frame your face. Choose tops with beautiful, open necklines that frame your expressive face.
  1. Shape your torso. Define your shoulders, select shaping cuts and sleek fabrics that enhance your curves.
  1. Elongate your silhouette. Use details like a linear row of buttons, vertical seaming as well as color, monochromatic and tonal palettes, to draw your longest line, head to toe.

  1. Fade, camouflage, areas you feel are less attractive. Use deep toned, matte fabrics and gently grazing cuts to fade.
  1. Focus, bring attention to areas which you love! Select rich, wonderful embellishments that reflect what’s fun and exciting for the season.

More often than not, selecting well-designed, flattering outfits is really about recognizing and renewing our most flattering “uniforms” with contemporary trends, colors, fabrics and embellishments that resonate with our sensuous side.


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Create Your Signature Style

She wore a short skirt and a tight sweater and her figure described a set of parabolas that could cause cardiac arrest in a yak.
Woody Allen

Every woman is born with a best feature. Some spotlight it well and others can't seem to find it with a magnifying glass. This post is about 1.) finding and refining your best features or 2.) manufacturing great features where nature may have shortchanged you.

When we first "met" I told you I'd share a few of my epiphanies and here is one: My thick curly brown hair started to thin when I was young. After wearing my hair pulled back in a chignon for many years (to hide the thin spots) the conditioned worsened. So I visited a wig shop, left a blond bombshell and never looked back. I chose a light two toned blended blond shade with (borderline trashy) dark roots showing. It has become my signature style.

Is there some trade-off? I guess a little. There are times when my son is pitching in an early springtime baseball game, the wind is blowing ferociously, my hairdo wrapped in a silk scarf, I'm wearing bold black sunglasses and doing a pretty good job of affecting a movie star look. At times like these, however, I'm worrying more about whether my lid will blow off than if my son strikes out the next batter. But I can cope. Blond bombshells can, you know.

Here are some enhancing "signatures" to consider: ·

  • Whiter Teeth - A great smile does increase confidence, makes you and the people around you happier. ·
  • Manicure and Pedicure - "Act as if..." Act as if you live the lifestyle of which you dream. ·
  • Fragrance - The olifactory sense is among the most powerful of the human senses. Own it. ·
  • Skin - You can create beautiful skin and it's well worth the effort. ·
  • Safe Tanning - Want to look slimmer, richer and healthier in minutes? ·
  • Jewelry - Does it have to be real? No. It has to be bold, memorable, proportionate to your stature and it has to enhance YOU!

Think about cultivating a star quality! I hope you'll share personally enhancing ideas with each other right here. For all the significant efforts we expend each day, am I recommending a little dose of vanity? You bet, we've earned it!


Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Custom Fit: Top Three Alterations

Some of my (new) clients balk when I suggest alterations. If getting an item altered seems time-consuming and indulgent, think of it this way - you’d have to log months at the gym to come close to what a tailor can achieve in minutes. Alterations can make you look 20 pounds thinner!

The Matte Jersey Essential Dress illustrates the bullets well.

Here are my top three alterations:

  • Separate your arms from your torso.

Shortening long sleeves to three-quarter or elbow length reduces the appearance of width at hip level. The distinction from fabric to skin, torso to arms, is fresh and slenderizing. Bare skin on the forearm is a great backdrop for beautiful jewelry.

  • Show-off legs.

Every woman has a “most attractive” place on her legs. Shorten skirts or dresses to just above that attractive place on you. The eye will be drawn to where the fabric ends. Personally, I have some nice shapeliness just below my knee, so I choose the bottom of my knee for my best length.

  • Accent your natural waist.

Trim excess fabric in tops with well-placed darts to suggest contour at your natural waist which is the narrowest place on your torso. Tailor bottoms so that they are fitted to your natural waist and drape from that point.

Alterations allow us to look our best right here, right now - not in ten pounds. A custom fit expands our reach from “ready-to-wear” to “lucky-to wear,” great fit was formerly reserved for couture. Not anymore!

Please share some of the alterations you find necessary or helpful. We’d also love to hear how your Ulla items fit.


Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Tribute to the Skort: Active-wear and Beyond

I’m not just an Ulla stylist, I’m an Ulla customer. As I write this message, I’m comfortably wearing Ulla’s Must-have Skort, and I might add, looking sleek and fresh. This is not always an easy accomplishment as the weather gets warm. Today, I want to get personal; I want to talk about chafing.

I want to tell you a story in the words of one of my first clients.

I was shopping in the mall and wearing a denim skirt. I was hot and uncomfortable and squatting every few steps (separating my thighs) because I was developing painful welts between my thighs as I walked. I thought I was being discreet, but I guess I wasn’t.

This big, beautiful stranger came up to me, looked me straight but compassionately in the eye and said, “Follow me, I can hook you up with relief in about 10 minutes.” I followed her to a lingerie department where she introduced me to biker’s shorts (a shaper that comes mid-way down the thigh.) AHHH!!! I haven't chafed since. When we parted she said, “We don’t have to chafe anymore.” And when she said “we” - I knew she meant it. (Debra B.)

Girlfriends, I share this story with you because Ulla offers some great products that are an antidote to chafing:

Please share any suggestions or tips you might have for sisters who deal with chafing. This is truly the stuff upon which we can build our community.


Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Girlfriends - I need your help!

Our son’s high school graduation is a month away and I need to pick a great outfit! I want to look elegant, sleek and pretty; I want to feel good in what I wear.

To do that, I must select an outfit that is well-designed – namely, one that minimizes visual weight, which is the illusion that the body is larger than it really is. Visual weight is often created through the use of saturated color and extra fabric in terms of the fullness and length of the style.

You may know what I look like from my U.P. Life pictures and videos, and therefore what you think would be flattering, but please keep in mind “visual weight” and a couple of other considerations too: it will be very warm and I prefer to keep my upper arms covered.

I’ve narrowed it to three outfits that I love.

I’m really hoping for some advice here. I’d love to hear your opinions and especially if you’ve had any first-hand experience with any of these three outfits, or similar Ulla styles. More the better if you’d care to share some photos!


Feel good in what you wear!