What to Wear with Boots


I would like to buy some boots this season. Should I buy them short or tall? I also have a hard time deciding what to wear with my boots once I have them. Are there any standard rules of thumb to follow?

Paula, Encinitas


Boots can present a challenge when you are deciding what to wear. One safe choice is to wear longer skirts or slacks with short ankle boots. Short boots and short skirts went out with Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ image but are now back in style. Styles come and go and the thing to really think about is what works with your body shape and size.

If you only wish to purchase only one pair this season, buy tall boots. They are more versatile and will go with almost any length of skirt or dress or pants.


Posted in Blog, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Wedding Gown for an Emerald ~ First in the Series-> A Gown for Every Body

Almost every year I find myself working with brides to help them find the perfect gown for their perfect day. For me, the ideal gown is one that will highlight their best assets and detract from their less flattering features.

This case study is about an athletic bride, a rock climber, hula hooper and yoga instructor. As a quick reference, other possible body shapes include heart shapes, trilliants, ovals, and heart on hearts.  You can check back to this site where I will be adding an article about each shape as a bride but meanwhile, let’s get back to the bride at hand.

This bride was a classic emerald shape meaning that she had an athletic build with her shoulders, hips and waist about the same size.  As an athletic adventurous woman, Stephanie started her wedding dress quest with the vision of a tea length dress, nothing fancy or bridal. Since I had known her fiance for several years, and saw the love they shared, I felt this would be her once in a lifetime wedding. I also knew that the groom’s style was simple, classic, elegant and romantic.

Due to these factors, and the fact that I am a firm believer in wearing a gorgeous gown whenever possible, I wanted to give her the sensation of wearing an actual wedding gown. If she decided at that point to stay simple and not wear a gown, that was fine.  But I knew that this was her once-in-a -lifetime chance to be in a full regalia and I felt it was important to at least put her in several versions of gowns from simple to floor length with train so that she could make an educated decision.

Well, needless to say, once this bride-to-be experienced the Cinderella feeling of wearing a ‘real’ wedding gown, there was no turning back. She quickly embraced the fun and beauty of wearing a once in a lifetime gown!

The gown we ended up selecting was simple and classic. The A-Line was a perfect choice knowing that a true ball gown would be way too much for this particular bride. The key ingredients of a sweetheart neckline and an A-Line construction were included.

I really wanted to build a few curves into her athletic shape and the sweetheart neckline combined with diagonal pleating in a criss-cross pattern added effortless curves. The A-line shape with asymmetrical pleating along the full bodice added curves in all of the right places. The ivory fabric was chosen because it was perfect for her complexion and the floating pearl necklace and earrings were her something borrowed from me!

This close up  photo shows the details included on this gown. Note the asymmetrical layering and floral embellishment at the hip. Both of these, along with the sweetheart bodice and neckline added curves where it counts.

This gown had just enough train to work for an outdoor wedding and the bride and groom were able to kick up their heels in the surf after the wedding with the gown bustled!

And they live happily ever after with baby Bella now in their life!


For Your Quick Reference:

For heart shapes, I add weight below the waist to balance the top of the dress with the bottom.


For the emerald shapes, I build in curves.



Heart on Heart Shapes need to keep their balance and accentuate their curves. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!



For the inverted heart or trilliant, I add volume on the top.


When styling oval shapes I create a visual waistline and often choose empire construction.


Check back often for more wedding gown articles. This is the first in the Gown For Every Body series.

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Busy Writer Has Her Image Edited

This extremely busy and successful writer loves to do yoga and had a very casual appearance even in her work place. Her sandals, casual cotton and yoga attire did not reflect  how really talented she is. She holds a very prestigious job as a writer for a well-known and respected celebrity.

This was her daily image before her makeover:

My mission was to glam her up a bit and give her clothes that were as easy and comfortable to wear every day as her yoga clothes. This way, she could run out the door in a hurry, work long hours and still look like she spent a lot of time getting ready for the world each morning.

We changed her hair a bit so that it was easier to maintain and found clothes that were literally ‘throw and go’ dresses and other easy to match pieces. Getting rid of the ankle straps on her sandals elongated her legs and added height to her stature. Now she is just as comfortable as before the makeover but appears much more polished with the same amount of effort as before.

Posted in Blog, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Every Woman Deserves a Little Black Dress Regardless of Her Size!

My phone rang one day and the lady on the line waged a challenge to me. She had recently found my article online about the little black dress and desperately needed a to find a new one for her formal affairs. She was frequently invited and often  celebrated for her work at black tie affairs and with her physical challenges had nothing to wear. She said that finding a little black dress for her shape and size was impossible! I knew with enough searching, I could find the perfect little black dress for anyone. I have never been foiled yet!

This was her current day wear:

Her challenges were that she was a plus size woman and had back and foot problems which normally prevented her from wearing off the rack clothes. I decided that the best route was to find her separates so that we could acomodate her back and still provide coverage for her arms. The black dress that I found was perfect because it fit her in all of the right places and had see-through sleeves and back so it did not appear overly heavy on her frame.

The fabric was light so she was not uncomfortably hot throughout the evening. I found a silver pashmina to keep her warm and  add a bit of glam to her outfit during the holiday months.

Here is another outfit that we found that day for every day wear:

Once the wider leg on the trousers are hemmed properly, they will help to balance her top half. BTW – the v-neck is good for almost every body!

Posted in Blog, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Savvy Interview Style for Women

Woman in Suit

With the wide variety of clothing choices for women, it is often difficult to determine what to wear during the job interview process.  I always advise clients to research the company they are interviewing with to determine (more…)

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

California Casual Business Attire is Still Professional

Office Appropriate Look

Hi Kathi,

I do not wear any makeup and have long hair. Is there a minimum amount of makeup that is considered appropriate (i.e. lipstick, mascara, etc)?

I have also noticed professional women tend to have short hair.  My hair is always clean and tidy, but I’m not sure (more…)

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tips for African Women with Warm Skin Tones

Dear Kathi,
I am African with a warm skin tone (green veins). I am going on vacation in March to Jamaica with my husband of 14 years.  This is our first real vacation together alone and want to look and feel my best.  What can I do to make this the best trip ever? I want to look irresistibly hot and sexy for him and all other guys since they typically gauge how sexy you are after themselves by other men’s oogling. HELP?


HI Christine,
Thanks for contacting me! I need more info to help you. How would you describe your body shape? What age, weight and height?
Best Regards,

Well, thanks for responding so promptly by the way as my vacation begins next week.  I am Black fairly thin.  I am 5’9 and weigh about 140 lbs which drops often throughout the year so that is not completely accurate.  I have a 36D breast size which I hate because people don’t realize that I have curvaceous qualities until they see me in fitted clothing which is rare.  I am hippy also.  But I have very skinny arms and legs.  My stomach is kind of a pouch due to my two kids.  It just doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much I fast, don’t eat, exercise, nothing works for this pouch.  To be more precise here is a pic of me but I have skinny legs!  As you can see I am pretty busty but my arms and legs are thin.  This is a pic of me on a family vacation last summer.  Did I mention I am 37 years old.  I really want to impress my husband as he is my best friend, and artist and one that made me confident and proud of myself no matter how I look.  I owe him tremendously.  Thanks so much for your help. Make me a superstar!


Great photo– you look beautiful. I would start by getting professionally fitted for a new bra, you could be possibly a 36E, by the looks of it. Most women wear the wrong size bra for years. It will make a world of difference and the betties will be hoisted to a mid point between your shoulder and elbows.  You should be able to get this from a “major” department store….the higher end the better…Nordstrom’s is the BEST.   You will need a supply of Microfiber panties so panty lines will not show under your light colored clothing.

Consider changing your base hair color to something less blue/black to more of a warm gold/chocolate…dark but warm.  Your facial lines tells me that you cold wear your hair up and back the whole time which would be easy and elegant however that would depend on whether your husband prefers long locks.  A nice sun hat…you might want to pick that up day one in the island if you like to wear them.  Even though big sunglasses are in you’re face is narrow so I’d downsize 20% there…the warm tones you chose of tortoise shell and gold are great!

To be sexy in the islands feel free to show off your décolletage (chest, collar bones), arms and legs which means you’re sleeveless most of the time but make sure you pick up one or two pashminas (wraps) in vibrant colors for evening coolness.  Try corals, pumpkins and saffron.  Choose one basic color palette for your wardrobe to make packing easy….white or cream would be an excellent base color…then pop Caribbean colors with wraps, shoes, earrings, bracelets .  Make sure to pack a sexy black/brown/navy dress for a special night out….empire waist, V-neck, sleeveless, show some leg, and a skinny strappy heel.

I would recommend mostly skirts and dresses rather than shorts or slacks….keep feminine and flowy.  ‘Flowy’ only works if part of the outfit is fitted, ie ‘flowy’ top skinny skirt or flowy skirt fitted top.  If you’re concerned about a fitted top over you belly go for the ruching or slight flare over the bottom half of the blouse. If you’re swimming or sunning you will go thru two or three swim suits.

Flat sexy sandals will take you thru the day and into the night….especially if they are metallic.

Have fun and send me a photo of your new sexy look when you return!


You are a tremendous help.  Your advice is overwhelmingly on point and amazing.  I have numbered all the steps needed for my transformation.  I can’t wait to see the outcome. I will most definitely send you a picture of the outcome and of course you may use my photo and advice for your site. You have been such a huge help.  I can’t thank you enough.  If that is all you are asking for, feel free.  I have so much to do before next Monday.  I have to make some returns of some of my purchases prior to this message. I made some boo, boos.  Thanks again Kathy!



Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Looking for a New Image? Let a Professional Show You The Way

Nothing to Wear

If you find that you’re always buying clothes that you never wear, an Image Consultant can actually save you a lot of money. She will evaluate your body shape and coloring and find those clothes that, in the words of the old song, help “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.” Once you understand (more…)

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips, Organizing Before & After, Women | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A new look for a birthday girl. Edgy and glamorous!


This client had never owned a Little Black Dress until she attended 

This LBD served her well when she stepped out for her 22nd birthday party celebration!

This sheath dress had amazing details. The fit was perfect for Melissa and the zippers created magical lines around her curves. This is the perfect little black dress to celebrate a birthday, don’t you think?

This is what my client said:

I loved shopping and finding my first sophisticated grown up dress! I had a great time with Kathi and the other ladies. Being a petite, it is always a challenge finding clothes that fit. Also as a recent college graduate,  it was difficult for me to determine which clothes were most  appropriate for a professional lifestyle. Now I know what to look for and will feel super confidant during my upcoming interviews.

Melissa L.


Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Build an Outfit Around an Accesory, Namely a Fascinator

Kathi Burns wardrobes a fascinator in time for Hat Day

“I have my fascinator and nothing to wear!” This was the comment from a friend just a few days before Opening Day at the Del Mar Races. Loving a good challenge, I knew this would be a fun assignment!

For those of you wondering what a fascinator is, it is a delicate headpiece typically worn off to one side of your head and secured by either a comb, clip or headband.

As you can see from this photo, the neutral colored fascinator, that was to be the base for an entire outfit, was lovely. It included the three common elements of most respectable fascinators; feathers, beading and flowers.

So, off we went to the mall with only a two hour window to pull together an entire outfit. My goal was to create a perfect outfit that included a cocktail dress, shoes, jewelry and wrap which would make the headpiece pop and sizzle.

The perfect dress needed to be simple so as not to overwhelm the fascinator but also classic, lightweight and without a lot of sparkle since it was for a summer daytime event. I was able to pull a classic sheath dress that was   tucked and fitted with perfect pleating in all of the right places to show off her curves. It included a floral print which gave a design nod to the flower in the headpiece. This dress was simple but curvaceous and cut at classic knee length once we adjusted the hem up an inch.

Once the dress was selected (with a few minor alterations pinned) I was able to focus on the other missing pieces. Beginning with shoes in mind,  I wanted to pop one of the bright colors in the dress pattern and searched for either blue, purple or magenta. The platforms found were ideal as they matched the fuschia/ magenta within the dress. They also added texture and interest because they were suede.

Stylist Kathi Burns, chooses the perfect cocktail dress for race day

Many women would not choose suede shoes for a summer outfit even if they did include a peep toe, as these do. I loved the suede because I always include the three elements of color, texture and shine in each outfit I create. Including all three elements is a subtle but telling statement that the entire outfit is intentional. Because I wanted a bit more texture, suede was the perfect choice for this outfit! If you begin to look closely at well-put together women in passing, you will see that all, or most, of them have coordinated all three elements of color, texture and shine in their outfit.

Amazingly, we were able to locate a nice lightweight wrap in the same color as the shoes. Having these colors match, along with higher heels, elongated the stature of this woman. The fuschias on both ends of her stature created a vertical line which elongated her figure. I also suggested that she wear her wrap vertically over her shoulder when it was not in use, to avoid a horizontal cut across her frame. Unless we are over 6 feet tall and need to gain weight, all of us benefit from a longer visual line!

After finding shoes and wrap,  the only big missing element was shine. It is sometimes easy to add shine with necklace or earrings. I was immediately drawn to a large floral statement necklace with a bit of rhinestone bling that worked with the outfit but was perhaps too much of a statement for my friend. Later, I selected a double strand of ‘freshwater inspired’ costume pearls that were in the same color family as the beading on the headdress.  Add in a pair of double drop earrings and the outfit was nearing completion but still asking for a bit more of the ‘shine’ element.

The shine element was finally complete when my fabulous store helper shows up with this gorgeous satin bag, amazingly in the same color family as the fascinator, and on sale!

It is always fascinating and invigorating when I can pull together the ideal outfit within a small window of time. It seems the universe always provides when a clear intention is set. As my client, who is truly a magnificent manifestor said, 20 minutes into our appointment with only two possible dress options, “I know it will work out for me because it always does.”

Stylist Kathi Burns selects the perfect cocktail dress for her client

Here she is with her husband just before they are out the door for a day at the races. We put the entire outfit together in just over one hour! Don’t they both look fab?!

If you are wondering how to manifest great things like this in your life with less effort, check out this website: Mind Movies. It is created by the couple pictured above and is a new innovative and fun way to create vision boards for your dreams and goals. It combines audio, video and affirmations and can play in the background of your computer throughout your day to help you create the life of your dreams.


Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image Consultant Before & After, Image Tips, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments