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   Dawn Wilson


Entries in Jill Swanson (4)


Decorate Yourself!

Jill Swanson makes classic fashion fun, so I invited her to write this Christmas UPGRADE to help us think about some special ways to decorate ourselves—not just our trees—for Christmas.

"Do you feel like you’re stuck wearing black for the holidays?" Jill asks. "Black is easy! Black is thinning! Black is boring!

"Wait, what was that? Boring? Well, yes, it can be predictable and boring."

That was me (Dawn) a few years ago. When Jill visited my closet, 50% of it was black! She helped me step outside my comfort zone and experiment with more color.

Jill continues . . .

Try adding some color and sparkle to your festive events this year.

Not sure how to do it? Here are three ideas to minimize the black and infuse your closet with some holiday cheer.

First, reacquaint yourself with the other popular colors this season: gold, dark green, off-white and of course red.

I also like the “starry night” effect of using a brilliant blue or navy. Any of these colors can easily be paired with black or stand on their own.

(Yes – it is “in” to wear black and navy together, just be sure to add some shine or sparkle.)

Second, make ensembles of what you already own and add “ornaments.” 

Start with an “elevator” outfit: a solid top and bottom in the same color—ivory blouse and ivory skirt, navy sweater and navy pants or even your black top and bottom.

(This creates a column or slimming "elevator.")

Then add to that an “Accessory Encore.”  

This is a group of accessories or add-on clothing pieces such as a blazer or vest that are unified by a common theme or color. Here are some examples:



The Encore can be added to the elevator set of your choice and rotated through your wardrobe.

Use your “romantic” Encore with your dressy clothes or take your jeans and white button-down shirt to an entirely new level!

Wear the bright red Encore in the winter with black and in the summer with white.

Encores work great when traveling too: take a pair of jeans and tee, one elevator set, and two or three Encores. Then mix and match, it’s easy and fast. Plus, they will easily fit into a small suitcase!

And finally, the simplest way to add some holiday style is to bling one thing. Wear what you would normally wear and go one step beyond. Here is a list of glitz to help you decorate with style!


  1. Lame’ anything – this metallic woven fabric will sparkle!
  2. Sequined top or scarf for some shimmer
  3. Rhinestone necklaces, earrings, pins, or bracelets
  4. A flashy belt with glitter or shine
  5. A satin scarf, shirt or tank for a classy effect
  6. A felt fedora hat and gloves for a little drama
  7. Lace scarf or top to add romance
  8. Sparkly eye shadow or lip gloss
  9. A bottle of glittery nail polish
  10. Red high heels—need I say more?

Accessorizing your wardrobe with some sparkle and shine will take your look to the next level.

Complete the look by accessorizing your thoughts with His words from Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Your beauty will shine from the inside out.

Spend a little time with Jesus each day and let his Holy Spirit infuse you with His light this Holy season.

Author Jill Swanson is a Christian Image Consultant whose mission is to help women make the most of their God given beauty (inside and out) through her speaking ministry and personal consultations.  Jill’s fashion/beauty books and Simply Scarves DVD are available at and on For more information about Jill’s online services and speaking, visit her website or contact Jill at 507-250-2030.

NOTE: Jill has a FREE TIP SHEET for anyone who goes to her website and emails her from her contact page——with the words “lighten Up.” TIP SHEET: "24 Ways to Lighten Up for the Holidays."

Red dress in graphic from


Dressing for Love

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Jill Swanson, a talented Image Consultant and speaker, is sharing ways to freshen up your look for sweet romance with your spouse.

"It’s the season for romance and love is in the air!" Jill says. "You can smell the roses, taste the chocolate and hear the music!"

I say, "Give me all three!" But seriously, I (Dawn) know Jill personally because she revamped my closet a few years back and gave me so many helpful tips. That's why I asked her to share this special Valentine's Day post to help us all boost our appearance and attitudes!

Jill continues . . .

You may wonder – what attracts a man? What do men really want?

Thirty five years ago, my husband and I went through pre-marital counseling. The pastor required us to read, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley. The book gives the five basic needs of a man and a woman.

While the lists differed, each had a similar “equivalent” on the other list, with one exception: the man’s need for an attractive spouse.

 My husband confirmed it.

So, what makes a woman attractive?

Here are some easy tips to freshen up your look that won’t break the bank:

1. Reflect your natural beauty.

Find the nearest mirror and rediscover what you’ve been blessed with. Study your unique features: coloring, curves, facial shape, lips, nose, eyes and hair. Repeat the shape or shade in an accessory or color that complements you.

Take a moment to carefully study these examples:

Model on the left: Her necklace mimics her curls and haircolor, and the blue blouse matches her eye color.

Model on the right: Her red lips and blouse match, her neckline frames her jaw shape, and the layered shirt repeats her layered hair.

2. Show some shape.

Focus your attention on silhouette. Make sure your clothing adds definition to one half of the body.

If you are wearing a flowy top, pair it with a slim pant; or if you wear a flouncy skirt, put it with a fitted top — as shown here:

Self-conscious about your arms? Try sheer sleeves or sleeve slits at the top of the shoulder that extend to the outer elbow, this provides definition and coverage.

A wide belt under an open jacket (no matter your waist size) will give the illusion of a great shape.

3. Polish your look.

One Sunday morning, a minister in the church I grew up in, announced from the pulpit, “Ladies, a little bit of paint on the side of the barn, never hurt anything!” I couldn’t agree more. 

A little lip color, concealer, blush and mascara can do wonders. Contact a person who sells cosmetics or head to the nearest store makeup counter, and get some free tips.

4. Check your attitude.

Being an attractive spouse has more to do with WHO you are than what you look like.

Choose to daily cast off discontentment, criticism, and complaining.

Instead use the dress code in Colossians 3:12, 14: Clothe yourself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And over all these things put on love.  

Ultimately, a man appreciates it when the woman looks the way he likes her to look.

Last month I worked with a woman 83 years young. Her husband asked me to do her makeup for some glamour shots. She was a model in the 1950’s who graced the covers of fashion magazines in her prime. Recently she’d fallen ill and he wanted to lift her spirits with a makeover and photo session — so romantic!

The gentleman specifically requested that I draw a long eye liner “wing” extending her lashes and apply bright red lips. I looked at him quizzically.

He then showed me her Vogue magazine cover – he wanted the same look she had in 1955. This gracious woman let him call the shots!

I obliged and he beamed with pride.

She instantly took on the persona of a poised model and transformed in front of the camera. It was the happiest she’d been in months.

She was the epitome of an attractive spouse — inside and out.

If you are married, are you dressing for love? No matter your marriage status, are there some simple, inexpensive things you might do, or some attitude changes you might make, to become a more attractive and winsome person? 

Jill Swanson, Image Consultant and Speaker, is the author of Out the Door in 15 Minutes and Simply Beautiful – Inside & Out. Jill works with individuals to evaluate, update and accentuate to their look both online and in person. For Jill’s books, consultations, or speaking information, visit her website or email her:

Graphic adapted, courtesy of jill111, Pixabay.


Sparkle for the Holidays

A couple of years ago, Jill Swanson helped me find my signature color and style, and as a busy woman, I love her book, Out the Door in 15 Minutes! I invited Jill to help us "upgrade" our holiday wardrobe style ... without breaking our budget.

"What a fun time of the year - Christmas programs, parties and presents!" Jill says. "So how are you wrapping yourself up this year?"

Wrapping YOURSELF up ... Hmmm... I never thought of it like that. Fun!

Jill continues ...

Stressed about getting dressed? Have no fear ... help is here! It’s as easy as “1 + 1” ... a practical and fun technique that will help you use what you buy throughout the year.

Here’s how it works:

Begin with one basic garment –  a simple dress, crisp white blouse, a solid color sweater or a black pair of slacks - then add one piece of “glitz.”

The glitz is something that can be blended throughout the year into the rest of your closet.

Here is a list of ideas to help jumpstart your holiday wardrobe:

  • Luxurious Lame’ - a gold, silver, bronze or copper scarf with earrings to match can accent a neutral sweater (ivory, beige, gray, black) and a sleek pair of slacks.
  • Ruffled white blouse – the more abundant the ruffles, the better! This holiday staple will become a “romantic go-to” for the rest of the year. Anchor it with a fitted bottom piece and a pair of “diamond” earrings.
  • Dark or black suit jacket – Separate it from its mate and introduce it to a new shimmering tank or cami and some dressy jeans and heels.
  • Metallic leathers – They remain all the rage this year. Add a purse and a pair of shoes or even a jacket to your usual business casual look and you’ll have holiday dazzle in a flash.
  • Color - Try a blaze of bright blue, gold or red in a sweater, scarf or hat. The jewel tones can be segued into the rest of your closet for 2014. If the idea of tying a scarf intimidates you – I’ve given examples of 3 simple ways on Youtube
  • Velvet - This forgiving fabric will play down areas you are self-conscious about and add an air of elegance to everyday pieces. Try it in a blazer, skirt or a jean-cut pair of pants. Use rhinestone baubles to complete the look.
  • Multiple jewels - Co-mingle a pearl necklace and one or two silver or gold chains and layer them abundantly on a solid dressy blouse. Or take a long pearl necklace, double it and fasten it together with an antique broach and wear it asymmetrical and voila - inexpensive and exquisite!

While these are fun ideas, making outer beauty is easier to come by, inner beauty is far more important during this stress-filled season. We need to take time to dress ourselves inwardly before starting our day by giving God time in the morning. Even Jesus did this (Mark 1:35).

Colossians 3:12 gives clear instructions for putting on an attractive attitude:  Therefore ... clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And in verse 14, it tells us the essential piece that completes the look and makes the outfit work: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Go ahead, add some sparkle to your holiday look this season - from the inside and out!

Is there something in your closet you can adapt for holiday events? Are you wearing the "essential piece" Jill mentioned?

Jill Swanson is a Christian Image Consultant who works with individuals and speaks for groups/organizations on how to make the most of their God given beauty – in side and out. Her books Simply Beautiful and the newly released, Out the Door in 15 Minutes! are available at her website and on Amazon.



Five Tips for Cheap Chic

Meet Jill Swanson:  A couple of years ago, Jill stood in my bedroom, helping me go through my wardrobe—piece by piece. We made big piles to give away, throw away, mend, and set aside to look for items to complete outfits. My closet never looked so spacious and organized! Jill was especially sensitive to my limited budget and I still use her color insights. (Turquoise became my "signature" color that day!)

“You can have beauty without breaking the bank,” Jill said. “As a professional image consultant, I love to teach women how to look like million without spending it.”

Here are a few of Jill’s favorite tips.

1. Organize first, shop later. Sort out the good, the bad and the ugly. This will reacquaint you with what you already own and possibly set you up for some extra income. What was “bad” for you could be good for someone else. Consignment stores are always looking for up-to-date, gently-worn clothing to resell, and that means money in your pocket. 

2. Get creative. Ugly can become useful. Before you trash that white blouse with the yellowed armpits – harvest the unique buttons off of it. I find beautiful buttons, appliqué and lace on garage sale garments and transplanted them onto my tired wardrobe basics.

3. “Know thyself” and dress accordingly. Go back to the “good” – what worked for you? Was it the color? Style? Fabric? Or perhaps just the fact that it fit a role in your lifestyle.  If you stay at home and have a closet full of business clothes, it’s time to reprioritize and spend your money where you spend your time. Give yourself permission to buy better quality and get a good fit in your “at-home” clothes. Duplicate winning colors and styles from those tried and true pieces that worked in your past.

4. Accessorize and shop wisely.  Invest in scarves, jewelry and add-ons (vests, belts, etc.) to change your look with a little color and decor. Shop consignment stores and department store sale racks for clothes (better quality). Use import shops and teen departments for trendy accessories.

5. Minimize. Learn to be content with less. Owning a few pieces that look fabulous on you is better than having much that looks mediocre!

What's your favorite fashion tip?

Jill Swanson, Image Coach, author and Christian speaker, helps women make the most of what they’ve been blessed with. For consultations (online or in person) and or to check out Jill's newest book, Out the Door in 15 Minutes, please visit