Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Month: July 2017

Fads, Trends, and Classics

Fads, Trends, and Classics

When you look at the thousands of items of clothing available, it can be hard to decide what to buy. Do you want an item that will be out of style by next year, or something that will be a wardrobe staple for years? There is room in every wardrobe for both. Is the dress, trouser, or shirt you are looking at a fad, a trend, or a classic? How do you know?

Fads

Fads are the one hit wonders of the fashion world. They come and go as quickly as a summer rain. A fad may be “huge” for one season, but often lasts about a year. Fads tend to have a very limited appeal, and are first adopted by the the JrHi-Uni age crowd. Fads often start with street style; some fads are regional. There may be a fad for your city, or region of the country. If the fad has a broader geographical sweep, you will find it in the fast fashion outlets. If the fad survives and grows to be found more broadly in retailers catering to a wider age demographic, it has matured into a trend.

Trends

Trends are the fads that have grown past the teenage/university student age market. They have a much broader appeal, and have often been adapted for an older demographic. (The first skinny jeans were a fad only the very young and thin could wear, but retailers soon adapted the cuts, and silhouettes. Originally, there were no “curvy skinny” jeans!) Trends stay around for about 2-5 years. When the rest of the market adopts the trend, it loses its cachet with the young and they move onto the next fad/possible trend.

Classics

Classics are pieces that have stood the test of time, they neither come nor go, but are found year after year. Classics form the basis of many wardrobes; many people think of them as boring, but classics can be a great foundation on which to build. Classics vary over decades; the blue blazer of the 1980’s will not fit anything like the blue blazer of 2017, but it is still recognizable as a blue blazer. Dress trousers are an easy item in which to see the shift in silhouette. Take a peek on the racks at Goodwill, and you will see a “classic” black dress trouser of multiple silhouettes.

Time decides the fate of all fads, some even endure long enough to become classics… Jeans, Statement Necklaces, and Breton Shirts are just a few.

 

Jewel and Hammer

Jewel and Hammer

July Monkey Mind: Support Small Business in the CSRA!

A Christmas in July sign got me thinking about Small Business Saturday. This led to thoughts about how I want to spend my money and support our local CSRA businesses. (Even if the big box store is unavoidable for some purchases!) Which led to “Is there any other way I can help my local businesses?” Aha! I can showcase a local business on this blog. Maybe it could be a regular thing? So, starting with that silly sign, here is my first attempt at showcasing a local business.  I would love to do this more than once a month, but let’s see how this flies. Please note that I have not been compensated in any way for sharing this information with you!

Jewel and Hammer

Jewel and Hammer is a husband and wife team (Why don’t we say wife and husband?) in Grovetown who make whimsical, interesting, and beautiful jewelry! Shannon and Ryan Cooley craft their pretties in their home workshop to sell on Etsy . First, if you ever have the opportunity to meet the Cooley clan, be ready for enthusiasm! Shannon, Ryan, and their lovely girls are a bundle of ideas, energy, and just plain fun. This is truly a family business, they handcraft all the pieces, shoot the photos,  write the copy, and do their own web-work. They are a remarkable Renaissance couple. I was lucky enough to visit their workshop and see their beautiful pieces in person this past week. What a treat!

Geek Chic

Shannon and Ryan work in a variety of media, wire, semi-precious, stones, sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, Pokémon cards, and Magic the Gathering cards. Yes, you read that right! They have an entire line of Geek Chic pieces made from the cards. Lest you think these are just for children, I know quite a few adults who can tell you their favorite Pokémon character with no hesitation whatsoever. Yes, I mean adults with children and gainful employment! Alongside the G/C items, they also make one-of-a-kind wire wrapped pendants and earrings. I am keeping my eyes open for the wire wrapped bracelets Ryan told me will be coming in the next few months. He treats the copper wire to prevent further oxidation (that’s what makes you green!). Shannon does most of the filigree and crystal work, including their super sparkly line for those who just can’t get enough shine, particularly those in the ballroom dance community. I often have a problem with many earrings being too heavy, especially sparkly ones, so I was thrilled to feel how lightweight these are. Positively gravity defying! If that’s not enough variety, my favorite pieces are their Steampunk items, and Shannon was telling me all about plans for a bag of watch parts they just received… And some pearls, don’t even get me started on the pearls…

Truly Original

Jewel and Hammer’s pieces are one of a kind, and very reasonably priced! You will not see your purchase on every neck about town, so if you are someone who seeks out the unique, check them out. They are more than willing to work with clients who may wish to further customize a piece. I found a pendant for a gift, and asked if there was a way to add X and Y. Shannon helped me find just the right jewels and pearls to take it to another level of refinement. My stylist side appreciates their individuality, and the variety of styles and of scale. If you prefer larger, more bold pieces, there are items for you, and if you prefer smaller, more subtle jewelry, that base is covered, too! When you are looking for not-to-be-duplicated gift, for yourself or someone else, try Jewel and Hammer!

What other CSRA businesses should I check out? Please let me know in the comments below!

Passing a Trend By…

Passing a Trend By…

In our digital world, if you are a living body with a credit card, and/or internet access, you likely receive “newsflashes” about the newest fashion trends. You don’t need to be remotely interested in fashion for this to happen. Shop online anywhere just once, and the notices start coming. You may have been buying a power drill, and magically you end up on the “rugged man sale list.” If you browse online before going to your local brick-and-mortar, you probably receive sales and trend notices from them, too.  All the hype about trends can get exhausting! Regularly unsubscribing from lists can help you maintain your sanity.

Pick a Trend, Any Trend

Let’s talk about passing a trend by… I have at least 12 trend notices weekly in my mailbox, and that’s with a rigorous unsubscribe schedule! This week alone, one notice included: High-Neck Dresses, Striped Dresses, Plunge Swimwear, Wide-Leg Jumpsuits, Tropical-Print Dresses, Bell-Sleeve Tops, Backpacks, Maxi-Skirts, Espadrilles, and last but certainly not least, Off-Shoulder Dresses. Even if you have been living under a rock, you have probably noticed the Cold-Shoulder Top trend. (These are so ubiquitous that even my husband asked what was going on!) For the sake of argument, I will address the above-noted Off-Shoulder Dress trend.

Why Skip a Trend

There are lots of reasons to leave a trend in the shops. The Off-Shoulder Dress (OSD) is one bandwagon on which I will not be jumping. I think they are darling, but they don’t fit my personality, my figure, or my values. (Values and Personality are not the same thing… More on that another day.) (1) My personality skews to the more Classic side of Feminine, so the often ruffly tops of an OSD do not work for me. (2) I have yet to find a strapless bra that I am comfortable in for more than a few hours, and that actually defeats gravity in the way I need, so a strapless dress doesn’t work for my figure, either. (3) And last, and, most importantly, Modesty is one of my highest ranked Values, so the OSD doesn’t fit for me either. Please don’t get me wrong, there are lots of OSD’s out there that I do consider modest, but the way they tend to slide about and down makes me worry for the wearer! For me, that is three strikes against the darling OSD;  it shall stay on the rack for the right person. If a trend works for your lifestyle, personality, values, and shape, and you love it, run with it. Just make sure anything you take home you can wear in at least 3 different ways, please!

Nod to a Trend

So what if you LOVE a trend, but it just doesn’t work for you? There are often ways to finesse a trend and nod to it, but work it your own way. Maybe you are feeling daring, and want to play with the lingerie as outerwear look. I will not suggest that you head to the office with your bra on exhibit, or even go clubbing that way; celebrities make a living being outrageous, don’t risk your livelihood doing the same! How about a bustier or corset laced over a white shirt and jeans? That’s one way to nod to the look without risking an indecent exposure charge. Maybe you love Wide-Leg Jumpsuits, but getting in and out of the restroom quickly is imperative for you. (If you do not understand this, you have never had small children to care for.) Nod to it! Wear your wide legged jean or culotte with a chambray shirt and a denim sash. You’ll have the look and less restroom stress!

What trend are you loving now, or what look do you love and wish you could wear? Let me know in the comments below!

What’s Shape Got to Do with It? (Apologies to Tina Turner…)

What’s Shape Got to Do with It? (Apologies to Tina Turner…)

Before I start work with my clients, I ask them to fill out a questionnaire, to help me better understand them and find out with what they want help. One of the most frequent responses about a client’s goals is to learn to dress his or her Body Shape.

A Little History

The “ideal” body shape has changed dramatically over time., and differs from culture to culture. In western culture, for much of history, extra weight was a status symbol signifying that you were well off. You had more than enough to eat! Think of all those amazing paintings by Rubens. Botticelli’s Venus, as trim as she is, still sports a little tummy pooch. No ripped abs or muscled legs for her! Her attendant is a well-built woman, with thighs that could certainly be called strong and generous. The nipped and corseted women of the past may have been striving for the ideal of a tiny waist, but were still expected to be full elsewhere. So when did society’s obsession with thin begin? We most commonly associate the 1920’s with the beginning of the thin craze, but the boyish figure obsession of that era passed and in the 1930’s and 40’s curves ruled again. In the 60’s, Twiggy and the Youthquake brought the “skinny kid” figure  back into style, and we still struggle with an obsession with thinness today. If you have ever felt trapped in the wrong time for your body style-wise, you are not alone!

What is Body Shape?

Put simply, your Body Shape is your skeleton, and your silhouette. Your body shape is determined by your skeleton, most notably your hips and shoulders, and how they are related. This is (for the most part) determined by your genes and your environment when you were growing up. There is really not much you can do to change the skeleton you have. (Although, you CAN control the kind of skeleton you WILL have when you are 80, so please eat well, don’t smoke, and do weight bearing exercise!)

If you Google “body shape” you will find oodles of images, and geometric and object shape names! Brick, bell, rectangle, triangle, apple, pear, hourglass, inverted triangle, oval, straw, column, straight, spoon, diamond, and the list goes on. I am not impressed by being called a fruit shape, and even less so a brick. My training was with the amazing Imogen Lamport from AOPI, and I love her letter and number based system that leaves those negative word connotations behind.

The Basic Body Shapes

The basic female body shapes are I, H, O, X, A, V, and 8. Five of the shapes are balanced, meaning that the shoulders and hips are equal in width. This is NOT the same as being the same measurement around! This is a visual measurement across the shoulders and hips. The balanced shapes are I, H, O, X, and 8. Now you can be a plump balanced shape or a slim balanced shape, your weight is not relevant, here. The unbalanced shapes are the A, and the V. You can imagine an A having wider hips than shoulders, and a V having wider shoulders than hips. (Often referred to as a “swimmer’s body…) Again, you can be a curvier A or V, or a more slender A, or V. Every body shape has its benefits and challenges, and almost everyone I have met wishes they had a different one! Every body shape is beautiful, and every body shape can look amazing when properly dressed!

Next week we will talk more about figuring out your body shape, but if you can’t wait that long, contact me and I would love to get you started with a consultation!

 

 

 

 

 

Calling All Color Nerds!

Calling All Color Nerds!

I know I am not the only one who waits to see what the Pantone people project the coming seasonal color trends. I may not be watching them for the same reasons the movers and shakers are, though. I find the cyclical socio-economic trends of color and fashion truly interesting, but I’ll save those musings for another post completely!

This season, the Pantone people (some think of them as tyrants, others just forecasters) have chosen to publish two palettes, one for New York, and one for London. (My inner culture geek is over the moon!) For now, I will stick with the New York palette, since this one will have the greatest effect on what the US consumer will be seeing in the stores this coming fall and winter., and most likely the next fall-winter season as well.

Versatile Colors

I am inordinately happy that Navy Peony (Really? I want the name choosing job! A pitcher of cocktails, some nibbles, and a swatch of colors to give names to…) is on the list for fall/winter 2017/2018. Navy is a great neutral that traditionally has shown up in resort wear and spring collections. I am keeping my eyes open for a special occasion dress in some shade of navy! It is a beautiful neutral that is far more flattering than black for many women. Shaded Spruce is another color I’m interested in… It is a deep blue-green that suits many.

Tawny Port is keeping the Marsala flame of a few years ago alight. You should see warmer and cooler versions of this color, so you can pick whatever suits you best! I am hoping to see cordovan and oxblood leather goods showing up in the stores for fall. They look rich and elegant paired with almost any neutral! If you are in the business of stalking the Nordstrom Annual Sale, check out Women’s Shoes, and color sort for Red… You will see everything from dark wine to russet red, and even a gorgeous pair of suede sandals that might be a dead ringer for Pantone’s Grenadine!

Warm and Cool

Some years the palette skews predominantly warm or cool. This new palette is fairly evenly divided, with a few colors (Shaded Spruce, Navy Peony, Tawny Port, and Ballet Slipper) that may be seen in both warmer and cooler variations as they show up in the stores. For warm palette women, there is a vibrant Golden Lime that could rock your world, along with more basic shades like Butterum, and Autumn Maple. Grenadine, a bright warm red, would make for a fabulous blouse, or a showstopping dress perfect for the holiday season! (Why do so many warm color names make me hungry?)

Why Bother with the Color Trends?

Really the best reason to pay attention to the color trends is (as I’ve also discussed here) to know what will be coming into the stores, and where to invest your hard-earned money, or when to save your cash and let the wave pass on by! If you love a “trend” color and it suits you, then this is a great time to stock up on what you love, or replace worn items. Also, knowing what to expect to see in the stores can save you frustration when heading to the shops. Managing your expectations before you head into the mall can go a long way to making your trip a much happier one.

 

Mood Dressing

Mood Dressing

Control Freak?

When I suggest to people that they choose the next day’s clothing the night before to save time and stress in the morning, the most common reply is “But what about my mood? I may not feel like those clothes in the morning! Then I’m starting all over again.” I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic, but who’s in control in that situation? Are you in control of your mood, or are you letting your mood control you? If you have been up all night long with a sick child, and are now going to the doctor instead of work, I understand you need easy, wash and wear comfort clothes. Go change. The suit and pumps you chose last night aren’t going to cut it for the day’s activities!

Dress for How You Want to Look and Feel

I would posit that on 90% of the other days, you don’t even really know what kind of mood you are in (except the Need More Sleep and Coffee mood) when you get dressed in the morning! To be honest, I’m not sure I want to see what the Need More Sleep and Coffee outfit looks like… The problem with letting your mood control your dressing is that moods are temporary. They flit from one place to another, up and down all day long. Do you really want to drag a lousy morning mood along with you all day? I suggest that dressing for how you want to look and feel is a better choice. Studies by a UK researcher in the showed that when people wear superhero shirts, they feel more likeable, and test subjects wearing white coats (doctor-type) do better on mental agility tests. What we wear affects not only how others perceive us, but how we ourselves feel and behave.

Try it for a Week

So, let’s do some science! Make yourself the subject of a dressing experiment. Take two minutes at bedtime Sunday evening to lay out or hang up your clothes for Monday. Repeat each evening. (I know a man who does this on Sunday for the whole week! That’s a bit much, even for a planner like me…) See if your mornings aren’t less stressful. Then come back and let me know how your experiment went. Please do, I am insanely curious!

 

 

Finishing an Outfit

Finishing an Outfit

Common conversation…

“How can I make a casual outfit look not sloppy?”

“Do you mean casual, but intentionally so?”

“YES! That’s exactly what I meant! How do I do that?”

This conversation, or a variation of it, happens almost weekly! So many women with very casual lifestyles go through their day feeling messy and not very together. Three is a lucky number for me, so here are three tips to help you with that casual, but intentionally so feeling.

Grooming

Even if you are having a jeans and tee shirt day, take a moment to check your grooming. I’m not suggesting makeup for the opera, but make sure your teeth are clean, and your hair is brushed. I am sure you are doing this anyway, but somethings are worth hearing again. A little mascara, and some tinted lip balm can take your face from naked to defined. If you, like me, are loving your grey hair, making sure your brows are defined can make a world of difference! One sure route to looking intentional is a quick swipe of bold lipstick. Red, pink, plum, whatever you love, as long as it’s bold, it can stand alone.

Shoes

If you want to feel more put together, put on a pair of shoes. By this, I mean (very loosely) what my mother used to call “real shoes.” Not shoes you would wear to the beach, or in a locker room shower. Not bedroom slippers. Not gym shoes. I don’t mean you have to wear heels, but a shoe that would not be at home in the gym or at the beach looks more like you meant to get dressed that morning, and less like you just threw on yesterday’s clothes that were hanging on the chair… If you want to wear gym shoes, than go all out and rock them with a skirt or dress, street style!

The Power of Three (3)

No higher math required! Just think in threes. Odd numbers are interesting to the human eye. Research shows that even wee little babies will look longer at odd numbered groups of objects than at even numbered groups. Use this inherent trait and add a third piece to an outfit, like a vest or a jacket over a top and bottom. If that is too warm for you or your climate, then use three pieces that relate, as in the Polyvore above. The three could be related by color, or by theme. Maybe you love flowers; then wear floral Keds, a silver floral pendant, and a hair elastic topped with a flower! Look through your accessories and find groupings that make you happy, then throw them on like you mean it!

Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day

Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day

How important are routines to you? You may think routine boring, or you may love it… Either way routines are essential. They are one way our brains save time and energy for more important work. Some people have routines for almost everything, and find themselves at a loss when they are thrown out of order. My years of teaching taught me a great deal about the value of routine for small people, and even more so for myself (especially as the one in charge of littles)! But… we have to be careful that our routines don’t become ruts from which we cannot escape.

What is a routine?

A routine is “a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.” Some synonyms: procedure, practice, pattern, drill, regimen. (Oxford Dictionaries Online) My dad was a procedures man, even down to choosing his clothes for the day. He alternated what he called Blue Day and Brown Day. I used to tease him mercilessly about this when I was a teen and college student. The tables have turned, and he is laughing at me from Heaven as I admit to running a Blue Day/Pink Day schedule pretty steadily for the past few weeks. It’s not completely conscious, just more of a “I wore blue yesterday, so I feel like something different today…” kind of thing. I remember asking him in a smart-alecky tone where grey fit in. I was answered with “Grey can go either way; that’s why I always pack a grey suit for business trips.”(Along with both blue and brown day ties!)

How Can a Routine Help?

You can use a clothing routine to make getting dressed in the morning faster and easier. When getting ready for bed, I check my calendar and the weather (thank you smartphone!) and hang up my clothes, including underwear and accessories, for the next day on a hook inside my closet door. It takes about 2 minutes to do while I am still awake, and saves far more than 2 minutes in the morning. My creativity level is zero first thing in the morning. If you want to change your mind about your outfit, feel free, but having a default automatically lowers the AM stress level! Another plus to preparing in the evening: no morning surprise that something you want is dirty, torn, or just plain trashed. Also mismatched socks or shoes are less likely to surprise you later in the day!  Dirty Secret: We go to church on Sunday evening. I dress for Mass right before we leave, and when we get home I hang my outfit back on the hook to wear Monday morning if the outfit suits the day’s schedule. Ta-Da! Monday morning no-brainer! (Today includes crawling about under our house, so the dress can wait for tomorrow.)

When the Routine Becomes a Rut.

When we were living in Spain, and I was home-schooling our sons, one winter was particularly grim, and cold to boot… Mondays were almost unbearable, and I fell into the Monday morning black turtleneck, denim overalls, black buckle booties rut. Every Monday, for weeks on end. It was convenient, and saved brain space, but was adding to my Monday Blues.  If you are bored with your clothes, you may be in a rut. How to climb out? Maybe your rut is capris and a tee. Jeans and a logo tee. It might be a dark suit and white shirt. Start small. Add something extra. Maybe a necklace, or shoes that aren’t flip flops. Maybe your daring could be a pocket square. If you are a jewelry queen, your challenge could be to take something away. If you wear bold jewelry, try something more delicate. Dainty pieces are your go-to? Try something more assertive. Change is good, and teaches us new things about ourselves. Chances are you have pieces in your closet you never wear. Why not put one of them on today?

 

 

Personal Shopping

Personal Shopping

Not Retail Therapy

I enjoy personal shopping with my clients. It’s not that I love shopping per se, but I see shopping as a puzzle to be solved, and a way to try out new ideas. You have holes or gaps in your wardrobe puzzle, and my job is to help you find the missing pieces. To solve the puzzle, I spend time getting to know you; I want to understand your personality, your values, your goals, and what you already own. This helps me to see the final picture the puzzle should make, and to make choices that are a good “fit” for you . (Sorry, the pun took over and forced its way in…) Your body shape and coloring play into the puzzle solution as well. I will probably stretch your boundaries, and ask you to try things you might never have given a second thought. I plan out our trip to make the best use of our time, and take care of many of the stressors of shopping. Your job is to come prepared, and with an open mind. I make no money from the stores we visit. I work for you, and want you to get great value for your money and have a wardrobe that makes you happy!

Fashion Feast or Fashion Famine

I shop all price points, from Neiman Marcus to consignment shops! My job is to know the trends, do the research, and find the pieces that will complete your puzzle and not break your budget. Fashion is fickle. Some seasons everything appeals, fits, and is fabulous for you. Other seasons there is nothing to be found, even under the most obscure rocks. Recently, I went on a personal shopping adventure in California with a lovely lady who was in the middle of a life transition: she was moving, changing jobs, and taking on new personal responsibilities. Being out of town, I couldn’t do much of the pre-shopping or planning I would normally complete before meeting a new client. She was ready to buy, but most of the items in the stores were not her personality, not her colors, and not her silhouette; we did find a few gems for her to buy in her sizes and colors on-line when she returned home. Afterwards, I sent her a Polyvore with ideas for her to use as she heads to the stores on her own.

I’ll Take a Friend

It pays to have someone along who knows you, your style, and your needs when you head to the stores with your hard-earned money. Many people take a friend to help, but that may not be the best way to get what works for you. As a trained professional, my job is to identify the best out there for you. Not what I like, not what I wish I could wear, not what the celebrity mags say is all the rage. In my client’s words “I loved your blend of straightforward yet kind, down-to-earth yet highly knowledgeable approach to coaching the way I see myself and wardrobe choices. I look forward to practicing another way of seeing in the days ahead.”