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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Look book - fit to a tee

T-shirt is one of the easiest things to build an outfit around. It can be paired with a pencil skirt, jacket, pumps and fun jewelry for a business look, with jeans for casual or with a pretty skirt and sandals for a summer outing.

That said, picking the right t-shirt still appears to be a challenge for many. I am seeing a lot of old garish college tees, shapeless tees, tees with fabric that is either too heavy or too thin, tees with necklines that do not flatter the wearer at all. Believe it or not, there is a difference between how you look wearing a shapeless crewneck tee and wearing a fitted v-neck.

In my opinion, the best source for identifying the right neckline to suit your shape is still What Not to Wear - the book by BBC's Trinny Woodal and Susannah Constantine. It was definitely a big "aha" moment for me.

Next on the list? The right color. And again, Trinny and Susannah had put together some tools for that as well in What You Wear Can Change Your Life. Was it rough discovering in my early 30's that half the time I was wearing colors that brought out my inner corpse? Yes. But am I glad I came to that realization before spending the rest of my life wearing clothes that didn't do anything for me? Absolutely.

I am a short curvy person, so the ballerina and v-shaped necklines work best for me. They keep my boobs where they ought to stay - at boob level - while making the most of my not-very-long neck. My natural coloring works best with cool deep jeweltones: royal blue, deep purple, shades of red that edge into the purple territory. During summer, when I am tanned, I can also wear bright light colors, like white and bright yellow.

One of my favorite non-slouchy casual outfits is a fitted colorful tee, paired with bootcut stretchy khakis and fun yummy sandals. The combination is easily transformed by swapping the khakis for a long pale skirt. The look is still colorful, summery and comfy.

My favorite tee substitute is a one-piece. It works just as well for pairing up with various outfits, but I don't have to worry about constantly tucking it into my waist band. (To solve this problem with regular tees I swear by the ones from Target that mercifully come in longer lengths.) And while I do wear them with just about anything, the simplest option is still my favorite - a one-piece, blue jeans, trainers and a fun piece of jewelry, and I am ready for just about anything.

The photo was taken during a casual birthday celebration, and what I like about it is that each one of us is wearing a t-shirt to fit her personality. I opted for a simple white-and-jeans look, but added a showstopper of a necklace (if I do say so myself - one of my favorite creations). Sarah (center) is the birthday girl, so her tee is vibrant, colorful and has a good bit of sparkle to it. Crystal (right) is smart, extraordinary and funky - wholly her own person - and her t-shirt reflects some of that as well.

So, to recap - right shape, right neckline, right color and right character, and you'll be teed up in no time!

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