This week’s secret to dressing like a European is one of the most important assets to any wardrobe – and that is attitude.  “Attitude” can mean many things, but the all important area we’ll be speaking about today is the art of feeling comfortable in your own skin – something well-heeled Europeans seem to have down to an art.

When contemplating our continental cousin’s “savior faire” in putting an outfit together- what often stands out is something much less tangible than a specific item of clothing or an accessory. It is the unaffected ease in which which they move in their clothing. It isn’t necessarily their confidence in what they say or do, but more a sense of certainty and poise that no matter what they are wearing -it looks great-  which can make even an old outfit from the Salvation Army look like a million bucks.

When Ruth was studying French one summer in Paris, she had an interesting experience which taught her first hand the power of this week’s Secret….

She had a rather heavy-set professor who shocked the entire class daily with her somewhat bizarre second hand shop ensembles which seemed to cling to her in all the wrong places.

Apparently, however, this woman never received the memo that she was anything less than Heidi Klum’s long lost identical twin sister. Throughout the course of the class, she moved around the room as if she were a model on a cat-walk.  As she addressed the class, she would run her hands up and down the many curves of her over-sized frame, preening as if she were being coaxed on by a Vogue photographer.

Although ungainly, she was under the distinct impression that she was absolutely the most irresistible woman in the world. Not in a stuck-up or arrogant way -but because you could see that she truly was someone who was comfortable in her own skin.

The funny thing was, after a few days of watching this, the entire class began to think she really was a sexy, sultry woman. Ruth actually caught herself thinking, “what a beautiful woman; if only I could look that great”.   Ruth’s female classmates echoed her sentiment and looked on in envy.

This teacher didn’t dress to impress or seem at all troubled by what others may have thought of her.  She just possessed the one indispensable item for any wardrobe…attitude. She had the confidence of The Next top Model walking down the runway, and it was infectious.  Ruth started to notice this was a common denominator of many well-dressed Parisians. In fact, she started to observe women on the street and in cafe’s and realized the right “attitude”could pretty much trump any fashion faux pas. In other words how a woman walked and carried her self was absolutely key to “dressing well”.

Whether we realize it or not, how we feel about ourselves is constantly being radiated out into the world, even without our uttering a word.  We’ve all met beautiful people that didn’t seem all that attractive after talking to them for a few minutes.  Conversely, we all know otherwise average looking people who are confident and classy and therefore emanate regal beauty.

Of course we would never tell you to simply don a glad bag and rely on that sparkling personality of yours to get you through a hot date or a big interview.  However, we cannot emphasize enough that how you feel about yourself is a huge part of how you present yourself to the world.

So even if you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable in that sea-foam green bridesmaid dress your best friend picked out for you and her entire wedding party, throw those shoulders back and act like Oscar de la Renta dressed you himself.  That inner voice in your head might be screaming, “I look like something from the aquarium”, but pay it no heed and “fake it ‘til you make it”, as they say.  You’ll be surprised at not only how good you’ll start to feel, but also by the reaction you get from others.

Annie perhaps put it best when she said, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile”.  Although we may not applaud her fashion sense, we wholeheartedly agree with her sage advice.

Looking forward to next week when we will bring you the last secret in the series “How to Dress Like a European”….

Have a great holiday weekend!

xoxo,

The Twins

This week’s secret to “Dressing Like a European” is….drumroll please…… LESS IS MORE. What does that mean exactly in relation to your wardrobe? Well, if the phrase “a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” rings any bells, read on…..

As we mentioned last week, due to much smaller closet space, Europeans tend to have a lot less clothing than their North American friends. In contrast, most of us stateside have turned shopping into an Olympic event where our “over-fed” closets fight the battle of the bulge every day, bursting with clothing we never wear. You know which pieces we’re talking about. The ones taking up not only physical space in your closet, but huge amounts of emotional space as well. Those “unchosen” items  practically speak to you as you decide what to wear each morning. “I’m your skinny jeans which you definitely WON’T be wearing after last nights binge!”, “You’ve spent a lot of money on me but you never wear me!”, “Why do I still have my tags on?”, “Someday I’ll fit so you can’t give me away”, and on and on.

By the time we find our daily uniform- which might not be the most stylin’ thing in our wardrobe, we’re just happy to close the door on the whole thing and get the heck out of fashion dodge- that is, until tomorrow when we’ll have to face the music once again. Of course tomorrow we will start our diet and everything will miraculously look like its “supposed” to. All those unruly pieces will straighten up and start acting like the perfect outfits you always intended them to be…..maybe. And we hear Arnold Schwarzenegger is being considered as a possible presidential candidate….

Of course, one would think that having more clothing in your closet would make life easier by giving you a lot more options, but paradoxically the opposite is true. Getting dressed can be completely overwhelming when you have  10 jackets, 25 tops, 15 pants,12 belts and 30 pairs of shoes to choose from. This is where those savvy girls from the old sod can teach us a thing or two. While we take great joy in collecting masses of stuff, well-dressed Europeans do not.

European gals tend to spend more money on quality, timeless pieces on a shopping trip and aren’t simply looking to fill up their carts with piles of average clothing that will be here today and gone tomorrow. They know that one great jacket is far better than four so-so blazers. Try the following exercise: add up what you’ve spent on every single item of clothing in your closet you don’t wear.  You will probably be amazed at the dollar amount.  Even if Costco or Target are your fashion boutiques of choice, most women will find that for the same money they spent on their unworn discount impulse buys, they could have gone to a high end department store and instead gotten one or two great pieces that would have taken them out of park and put them into fashion drive. Don’t get us wrong, every woman loves a fashion bargain -but the well heeled European woman makes sure it’s not just a great deal, but a valuable addition to her wardrobe as well.

This is exactly what our chic friends from the Old World do- they go straight to a good store selling quality products and pick ONE item they LOVE and use it in their wardrobe for years. Some might think this doesn’t sound like a very exciting way to shop (without the adrenaline high one gets in ripping thru racks and racks of sales) but they know that there is simply no substitute for the thrill they get from walking to their closet, easily picking out a great outfit and effortlessly looking like a million bucks.– And no matter which side of the pond you live on, isn’t that all that any of us wants when getting dressed each morning?

xoxo,The Twins

Last week we let the cat out of the figurative fashion bag and revealed the first secret to dressing like a European – TEXTURE.

This week we are going to show you one of the best ways to not only add texture to your outfit, but at the same time reveal the second great secret to dressing like a European…….ACCESSORIES. No, not just any accessories, but the right ones, which will leave your fellow fashionistas saying “Ooh la la – what does she know that I don’t?”

Clothing accessories cover everything from eyeglasses and belts, to shoes, scarves, and jewelry , which, of course, are worn universally. BUT, Europeans tend to use these extra adornments to their outfits in a completely different way than we do state-side.

Below are the 4 Major differences in how our continental cousins wear their accessories and how we can learn from them to give extra style to our own clothing choices:

1) WHEN CHOOSING AN ACCESSORY, BOTH PRACTICALITY AND STYLE ARE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION:  For example, a belt is not seen only as a good way to keep your pants up, but also as the perfect opportunity to infuse polish and panache into any outfit. Here they often combine the TEXTURE style secret with their accessories to make an otherwise blah outfit stand out. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t have to be a huge shift to completely alter the look of your outfit – just a well placed belt and footwear is oftentimes all it takes. For instance, on Main Street, USA, we might wear a t-shirt and jeans with a basic flat leather belt and shoes (or sneakers!) But by switching out those previously uninspired adornments for a beautifully embossed snakeskin belt with a silver buckle and a pair of great Italian suede shoes, Main street now starts to looks like it intersects directly with the Avenue Matignon!

1) SCARVES AND EYEWEAR ARE KEY! Look around any major European city and the main accessory you will see on the stylish is a scarf. A close second is a great pair of glasses. This goes for men and women alike. Incorporating element one, scarves are definitely practical and can be found in a dizzying array of beautiful fabrics and colors. Most people in Europe walk or take public transportation instead of their car, so being able to add a warming layer is key . The scarf  shape of choice is thin and oblong (squares are passe.) They are worn fashionably with one tail to the front of the body and one to the back (photo on left) or both tails to the front in a chic loop (photo on right). Once again this is the PERFECT place to add texture and style to what might otherwise have been a rather dull outfit.

As for glasses, tortoise shell and horn frames (texture again!) are the hottest look. Plastic well done fauxs are fine as well. Wire frames come in a very distant second.  We have seen women in very basic black outfits who look like a million bucks simply because they added a great pair of glasses and a beautiful cashmere scarf to their ensemble.

2) STEER CLEAR OF TRENDS AND BRIGHT COLORS -” UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE” IS ALWAYS IN STYLE : Most of us think the bold new trends are started by stylish Europeans, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your average European fashionista wouldn’t be caught dead wearing Ugg boots, neon colors, or adhering blindly to a trend because someone said it was the “non plus ultra” of style (for this week).   European women tend to choose timeless, elegant pieces in understated colors and rarely shop impulsively for trendy trinkets that will be here today and gone tomorrow. In Europe, unlike in America, shopping is not a national sport.  Therefore, our sisters across the pond are not in a constant dash for the latest-greatest.  Rather, they focus on buying quality accessories and clothing that reflect their unique personal style, shape and lifestyle.  Which brings us to our next point…

3) THE FOCUS IS ON QUALITY AND NOT QUANTITY: Due to much smaller closet space, Europeans tend to have a lot less clothing than their North American friends. Their simply isn’t room, as most people live in apartments and not large homes, and a walk-in closet is a true luxury. In fact, in most countries, you have to pay for and bring your own closets when moving into a new place – which doesn’t leave a lot of money- or space for unworn garments! It is for this reason that  quality is chosen over quantity, and many prefer to have a few great accessories than a mound of so-so stuff that won’t show their everyday duds off to maximum advantage.

How can we incorporate all this knowledge for ourselves? Easy. Remember to buy the best quality accessories you can afford. Buy them sparingly, avoiding trends (but look for texture!). And for the best “Look du Jour” add a great oblong scarf  and stylin’ shades and you’ll be well on your way to accessory (and European) style success.

xo,

The Twins


SECRET #1: Texture

Let us start by saying that, of course, not all European women wake up each day looking like they just came from a personal photo shoot with Vogue. In fact, the fascinating thing about European style is that it looks so very “unrehearsed” and “un-planned” that it leaves many of us wondering just what is the true secret our sisters across the pond use almost intuitively when getting dressed each morning.

Like any good recipe there isn’t just one main ingredient that creates fashion perfection, but several things that, when used in the right combination, will win you the blue ribbon at the county fair -or at least keep you out of “Hell’s Kitchen”.

In each of our blogs over the next few weeks we will be revealing one indispensable style “ingredient” which will unveil  7 fabulous ways to create your own personal “Continental” style.

This week’s secret is based on something largely overlooked in America- but which is almost a staple to the European way of dressing. That secret is……..TEXTURE.

We’re not talking about hair shirts here – though the Europeans certainly did favor that look back in the dark ages. No, from the Parisians to the Venetians , one of the key style elements to any chic ensemble is the finish, weave, consistency- or in short, the texture of the fabric.

The reason many of us don’t even consider the texture of a garment when trying to create an “ensemble extrodinaire”  is because texture is largely lacking in our mass-produced American clothing choices.

Try sitting on a bench in the middle of any major city in Europe and you will notice two things. One: almost every chic outfit has texture as a main component and Two: almost every beautiful, charming aspect of that town is also based on texture. Yes, Europeans are surrounded by this seemingly unimportant detail. From the carved wooden columns on the bank to the ancient stone statues of the Saints in the church (whose folds of clothing seem to be made from fabric and not marble) to the cobblestones beneath their feet. Texture is one of the major elements Europeans use to create beauty and style.

Now lets sit down again on our “figurative fashion perch” in  any American city and notice the passers-by. Most people will have a noticeable lack of texture in their outfits. Due to America’s huge population, we have much bigger stores which carry much larger volumes of clothing. When any garment is mass produced, every penny counts and generally cheaper runs of fabric are used. Less expensive fabrics are almost always flat and lacking in any depth, weave (or interest!). In Europe smaller populations produce smaller, higher quality quantities of clothing- where many designers still see their creations thru from start to finish (and don’t send their “fashion babies” off to far away sweat-shops to be produced by the thousands).

Take khaki cotton pants, for example, a common wardrobe staple sold from Nordstrom’s to Costco. They might be a “good basic”, but combined with a cotton shirt and a gabardine jacket-you’ve got the perfect storm for a ho-hum outfit. Now lets send that same outfit on a European vacation…..

In Europe a well-dressed woman would, of course, give our previously ho-hum outfit  the “texture-treatment”. Interestingly enough, this “treatment” might only include a minor change for its chic transformation. For example: she might swap out that previously “dullsville” gabardine jacket for a beautiful, tactile cashmere blend.  Finished with a cordonne topstitch and an interesting button, this jacket can now even be worn with the ho-hum cotton blouse and khaki pants to create a stylish and versatile look.

So what’s an American fashionista to do?  Next time you’re out shopping be on the lookout for some texture to add to your ensemble.  It will require a little more digging, but your reflection in the mirror will thank you. Small boutiques can be a great place to find trendy tactile treasures (try saying that three times fast).  Also, if you’re like most of us and love the European designer fabrics and styles, but not the expensive price tags that go with them – check out designer re-sale stores and outlet stores.   Here you can find clothing in beautiful fabrics and cuts for a fraction of the price.   Of course you don’t forget to look for some fabulous Italian (textured!) shoes when you’re there ….but we’ll save the secret of picking out the perfect accessories for next week’s blog…….

Until then…

xoxoThe Twins


Hi all, I’m finally  back from my two month trip to Europe where I worked with clients and visited  friends in Switzerland where I lived the last 15 years. On my arrival in Heidiland all of those years ago I first worked in a high-fashion clothing boutique to learn the languages of German and Swiss German. Then, when I felt pretty sure they wouldn’t kick me out of class for bad conjugation, pronunciation, or just laugh at my “interesting” accent, I went on to get my degree at Mode Design Schule Zurich (The Fashion Design School of Zurich) as a clothing designer. I then moved to Paris to work as a clothing designer in the trendy Marais district. However as I started understanding the true secrets behind dressing well -which the designers weren’t sharing with us, my twin sister Sara and I decided to start a company called The Fashion Code to let everyone know the truth about how to dress beautifully everyday- without having to employ a full time stylist.

If you’ve been following The Fashion Code, you know how it uses the timeless secret of the Divine Proportion to make you look fabulous in all of  your clothes. Now, over the next few weeks we are going to reveal the seven style secrets which our European cousins seem to have mastered- but many Americans have never been privy to.

In short there are some basic principles of dressing which Europeans use to give them that stylish look that sometimes leaves their American cousins scratching their heads in fashion wonder.

So be sure to check out our blog every week this summer (starting next Wednesday) as Sara and I reveal the seven style secrets to dressing like a European….From the use of texture to the correct fit and the right accessories, find out how to achieve that extra “je ne sais quoi” with any outfit.

xoxo

The Twins

As Fashion Stylists our favorite “secret weapon” for smoothing out the belly area and managing the dreaded muffin top is the bodysuit.   What exactly is a bodysuit? As you can see in the photo below, it kind of looks like a bathing suit.  It’s a panty and a padded bra all in one -however, it’s got the wonderful added benefit of streamlining your middle area.  It’s also sold as a “body briefer” or “body shaper” and runs between $35-45. We recommend it to all our clients and wouldn’t leave the house without wearing one ourselves.  Our personal favorite is Flexees One Fabulous Body Shaper. A lot of body-shapers can make you feel like you’ve been stuffed into a sausage casing, but we especially like this one because it’s comfortable enough to wear everyday.

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Another thing we LOVE about the bodysuit is that it works perfectly when you’re wearing your most flattering shirt length.  If you’ve been following Fashion Code you’ll know that the most flattering shirt length for ANY woman is at the hipbone (if you wear shirts above the hipbone you’ll look like you’ve been sliced in half, if you wear shirts below the hipbone you’ll draw a line across the widest part of your body – making you look 10 pounds heavier instantly.  So now when you wear your shirt at your hipbone, even if your top rides up a bit you’re always covered.

The only criticism we’ve received about this body slimmer is that it doesn’t have the superhero cinching strength that some of us might feel we need to hold our middle section in.  If you feel you need to pull out the big guns for extra support around your tummy area, there are various other body-shapers on the market that will do this (such as Flexees Take Inches Off 360 Body Briefer).  However, we still prefer the Flexees One Fabulous Body Shaper because even if it doesn’t totally hide all our midnight cookie runs, it’s both comfortable and slimming.  Unfortunately, we’ve found that bodysuits that tout stronger support usually mean that breathing will be optional for the day when wearing them.

There are two questions we always get about wearing a bodysuit that fall under the category “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Shapers but Were Afraid to Ask”.  The first is how the heck do you go to the bathroom when you wear this?  It’s pretty simple actually.  You can either unhook the fastener at the crotch area or, if you’re like us and are all about quick and easy solutions – you simply pull it to one side when you need to use the, ahem, facilities.

The other question we always get is what do you do to avoid panty lines when wearing a shaper?  Lipo In A Box has a thong bodysuit which solves this problem.  The only drawback is that it costs $80.  If that’s not in your budget we also have another option – We know this might be a bit TMI for some of you, but when panty lines are an issue we pull the back up on our Flexees and make it a g-string for the day.  We know it sounds like a giant wedgy, but it works and really isn’t uncomfortable.  Yes, we know… what we do for fashion (and to save a buck or two)!

Who knows, maybe you’ll love the bodysuit so much you’ll get one for your hubby?  We came across this male molding beauty on the net for a mere $177 (Yes. this is a real product!).  We’re not sure what the black bit covering his business is all about – as it seems to minimize his “assets” in addition to his tummy (perhaps he lives under a rock and doesn’t know that black is thinning?)

Of course most guys wouldn’t wear this if it was free and it came with a lifetime membership at Hooters.  But we’re looking forward to the day when guys have to go to the same lengths as the average woman just to smooth out a few rolls around their middle.  Until then, we can dream…

Do you have a favorite slimmer?  Let us know (because beer and brats season is just around the corner!)

xoxo,

The Twins

Disclaimer:  If we got a dollar for every time we’ve recommended this shaper we’d be sitting on the beach in Cabo San Lucas sipping Mai Tai’s instead of writing this blog.  Alas, we are not savvy enough to have worked out a deal with the good people at Maidenform and do not make a cent from giving props to this product. We ‘re just happy to pass on a secret that makes getting dressed in the morning a little easier…

The remaining top 7 American Idols were in rare form this week- both in the music and the style department.  As with singing, sometimes taking risks in fashion can really pay off.  However, this week the contestants may have benefited by re-thinking some of their clothing choices…

James Durbin, you know you’re in trouble when Steven Tyler compliments you on your wardrobe.  It’s kind of like having Donald Trump compliment you on your hair.   When Steven Tyler told James, “You’d be surprised how expensive it is to look this cheap”, truer words were probably never spoken.  Ironic that we were just saying last week how we loved James’ classic-rocker look, but this is taking it a bit too far.  James’ post-apocalyptic ensemble came across as more Mad Max than Guitar Hero.  Also, using a whip as an accessory is a tough look to pull off (unless you’re into S & M).  It almost had us missing his scarf-tail.

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Hailey Reinhart had a great night in the vocal department but not so stellar a night in the wardrobe department.  It’s not that it wasn’t a nice dress, for say a garden party, but it had nothing to do with the jazzy, bluesy vibe she was trying to create.  Producer Jimmy Iovine told her she needed to get in touch with the emotion of the song, which Hailey described as “pissed off”.  So then why was she singing Adele’s gritty “Rolling in The Deep”, dressed as one of the Stepford wives?  Even the prom-night-perfect hair and the frozen smile were a disconnect. We heard Hailey was going for a sexy, 50’s siren style but it looks more like she stumbled out of the wardrobe closet for Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music.  This Minnie Mouse look is great for The Disney Channel, but we would have preferred to see Hailey in a more sultry style that suits her husky, sexy singing voice.

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Casey Abrams swapped last week’s suit and tie for this homeless-chic appearance.  Although Casey is not a suit and tie kinda guy, there’s a lot of room between the “picture day at school” look and the “I don’t own a comb, an iron or a credit card” look.  Casey has great natural talent but his scary clothes, coupled with his scary faces are a bit alienating.  We’d love to see Casey in more of a fun and funky look – one that doesn’t look like it was plucked from the Good Will pile.

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Stefano Langone was portrayed as a real ladies-man by his fellow contestants, which was a bit of a hoot since he hopped around the stage dressed in Grandpa’s high-waisted pants and suspenders.  Or maybe he’s trying to get the firemen vote?

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Jacob Lusk has really moved up since the beginning of the competition.  He’s gone from dressing like a choirboy every week to now dressing like a TV evangelist…

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Scotty McCreery is always true to his true country roots both in his song choices and his clothing choices.  As a result he comes across as sincere and authentic.  Thanks for keeping it “real” Scotty!

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We can’t tell you how relieved we are that Lauren Alaina didn’t wear funeral black this week.  Even though she’s a bit washed out in these colors and would have looked more cheerful in some fun Spring hues, we’re just relieved to see her back in her country gal garb that suits her so well (vs. the dark, depressing outfits – plucked from Elvira’s attic – that she’s been wearing the last few shows).

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This  week’s Idol “Cast-off’s” were back to sing Pink’s aptly named “So What?”.  Apparently they put the girls in all of the morbid black outfits they had saved for Lauren Alaina.  The lone male singer, Paul McDonald, should have cast-off his mariachi band suit after wearing it for his losing performance.  Paul, wearing the same suit you wore when you got the boot may be smart packing but it’s bad fashion. Time to send this unfortunate outfit to Good Will…just please make sure Casey doesn’t accidentally pick it up on his next shopping trip.

The remaining top 7 American Idols were in rare form this week- both in the music and the style department.  As with singing, sometimes taking risks in fashion can really pay off.  However, this week the contestants may have benefited by re-thinking some of their clothing choices…

James Durbin, you know you’re in trouble when Steven Tyler compliments you on your wardrobe.  It’s kind of like having Donald Trump compliment you on your hair.   When Steven Tyler told James, “You’d be surprised how expensive it is to look this cheap”, truer words were probably never spoken.  Ironic that we were just saying last week how we loved James’ classic-rocker look, but this is taking it a bit too far.  James’ post-apocalyptic ensemble came across as more Mad Max than Guitar Hero.  Also, using a whip as an accessory is a tough look to pull off (unless you’re into S & M).  It almost had us missing his scarf-tail.

.

Hailey Reinhart had a great night in the vocal department but not so stellar a night in the wardrobe department.  It’s not that it wasn’t a nice dress, for say a garden party, but it had nothing to do with the jazzy, bluesy vibe she was trying to create.  Producer Jimmy Iovine told her she needed to get in touch with the emotion of the song, which Hailey described as “pissed off”.  So then why was she singing Adele’s gritty “Rolling in The Deep”, dressed as one of the Stepford wives?  Even the prom-night-perfect hair and the frozen smile were a disconnect. We heard Hailey was going for a sexy, 50’s siren style but it looks more like she stumbled out of the wardrobe closet for Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music.  This Minnie Mouse look is great for The Disney Channel, but we would have preferred to see Hailey in a more sultry style that suits her husky, sexy singing voice.

.

Casey Abrams swapped last week’s suit and tie for this homeless-chic appearance.  Although Casey is not a suit and tie kinda guy, there’s a lot of room between the “picture day at school” look and the “I don’t own a comb, an iron or a credit card” look.  Casey has great natural talent but his scary clothes, coupled with his scary faces are a bit alienating.  We’d love to see Casey in more of a fun and funky look – one that doesn’t look like it was plucked from the Good Will pile.

.

Stefano Langone was portrayed as a real ladies-man by his fellow contestants, which was a bit of a hoot since he hopped around the stage dressed in Grandpa’s high-waisted pants and suspenders.  Or maybe he’s trying to get the firemen vote?

.

Jacob Lusk has really moved up since the beginning of the competition.  He’s gone from dressing like a choirboy every week to now dressing like a TV evangelist…

.

Scotty McCreery is always true to his true country roots both in his song choices and his clothing choices.  As a result he comes across as sincere and authentic.  Thanks for keeping it “real” Scotty!

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We can’t tell you how relieved we are that Lauren Alaina didn’t wear funeral black this week.  Even though she’s a bit washed out in these colors and would have looked more cheerful in some fun Spring hues, we’re just relieved to see her back in her country gal garb that suits her so well (vs. the dark, depressing outfits – plucked from Elvira’s attic – that she’s been wearing the last few shows).

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This  week’s Idol “Cast-off’s” were back to sing Pink’s aptly named “So What?”.  Apparently they put the girls in all of the morbid black outfits they had saved for Lauren Alaina.  The lone male singer, Paul McDonald, should have cast-off his mariachi band suit after wearing it for his losing performance.  Paul, wearing the same suit you wore when you got the boot may be smart packing but it’s bad fashion. Time to send this unfortunate outfit to Good Will…just please make sure Casey doesn’t accidentally pick it up on his next shopping trip.

This year’s American Idol judges are like doting, indulgent parents – afraid to make the slightest critical remark lest one of their Idol offspring suffers long-term negative effects.  However, the one bit of constructive feedback the Idol judges do seem willing to give is this… the secret to success in the music biz is “being true to your unique style”.  As Uncle Randy is always telling the kids, “make the songs your own – do something different with them”.  Although often unheeded, the message is clear – don’t be a poor imitation of someone else.  When an Idol veers from their unique voice it comes across as fake.  The audience doesn’t “get it” and the contestant ends up with a one way ticket home.

The same is true when it comes to selecting your personal style. Image is everything in Hollywood and like it or not, any star in Tinsletown will tell you that how you “package” yourself is as important as how you perform.  That doesn’t mean that every gal needs to copy Jaylo’s sultry style and every guy needs Justin Bieber’s do, but it is imperative that your personal style reflects who you are as an artist if you want to truly connect with your audience and be catapulted to super-stardom.

For example, Lauren Alaina first came to us as a sweet 16 year old southern belle who was compared with the fun, lighthearted Dolly Parton.  But nothing about Lauren’s Idol “look” says fun and lighthearted.  Big disconnect!  Instead, the words that come to mind here are emo, sad and therapy.  She’s currently a poor imitation of a Goth Princess, but we’re still all hoping that effervescent, country-rock girl we fell in love with during auditions will re-emerge.  If Lauren can manage to lighten up and start having some fun with her fashion and her music she could easily make it to the final 3, and follow in the footsteps of such greats as Carrie Underwood and Ms. Parton herself.  Please Lauren, step away from the goth kool-aid and move towards the light!

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Casey Abrams is all over the board with his style choices.  One minute he looks like a stoner who lives in his Mom’s basement.  The next minute he looks like he’s going for an interview at a bank. Neither look suits his funky, irreverent jazzy style and leaves us feeling confused.

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Jacob Lusk has been compared to Luther Vandross and can move his hips at the speed of light, yet his look screams church choir.  Been there.  Done that.  It’s time for Jacob to spread his wings and morph. He would win a lot more votes with an edgier look, but right now he’s about as edgy as a Telly-Tubby.  Will the real Jacob please come out of the fashion closet?

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Now here’s a guy who knows who he is – and no surprise, he’s one of the Idol favorites.  James Durbin has been a rocker since day one.  He hasn’t vacillated from his “unique style” one iota and we applaud him.  When Jimmy Lovine told him this week’s heavy metal song choice was wrong, James simply said, “Thanks for sharing” and stayed true to his gut and his genre (with excellent results).  James perfectly illustrates that you don’t need a degree in fashion styling to look the part -you just need to wear clothing that you’re at home in -as almost every outfit he wears reflects his true rocker soul.

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Stefano Langone looks like he’s auditioning for clean-up crew (which is no surprise since he always sweeps the bottom 3).  He also seems to have some holes in his wardrobe he needs to address…

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Scotty McCreery knows who he is and his personal style reflects it.  He’s country through and through and whether you’re a “fan” or not, you can never accuse him of trying to be someone else.  Interesting to note that Scotty is one of the favorites and it’s almost unanimously agreed that whether he wins Idol or not his future is scorchingly bright in the world of country music.  We’ll say we knew him when…

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Haley Reinhart hasn’t found her true voice yet and the votes flip flop widely to reflect that.  One minute she’s in the top 3, the next minute she’s dangerously close to an epic fail.  The same could be said for her clothing/style choices.  She went from an 80’s fashion disaster a few weeks ago to this 70’s shagadelic number below (which we actually kinda like even though the print reminds us of the Partridge family bus).  Haley, who are you?  Janis Joplin, Blondie, or maybe the female version of Danny Bonaducci?  Better decide soon… there aren’t many shopping days left til Christmas.

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Hmmmm.  So given the fact that your personal style truly tells us who you are as an artist, this week’s guest star, Rihanna, must be a really fancy bedspread.  How fitting that the song she was singing was entitled, “California King Bed”.

That’s all for this week.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on Idol’s search for style…

xo,

The Twins