Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Category: Seasons

Fashion Seasons vs. Calendar Seasons

Fashion Seasons vs. Calendar Seasons

The seeming insanity of the fashion world… Last fall, when fashiondom was all about Spring /Summer 2018, we mere mortals were all thinking about whether or not a new snow shovel was in style for the coming winter.

Just as we are beginning to thaw out from the most recent cold snap to imagine that spring may someday spring, the Fall/Winter 2018-2019 fashion week(s) are gearing up. Men’s Fashion Weeks have been running since the beginning of the month. Paris Haute Coture begins January 22nd, and the others follow on directly after. If you enjoy the spectacle, Fashion Week Online has complete listings of shows, not only the big 4 (Paris, New York, London and Milan) but of other Fashion Weeks all over the world.

I am often asked why fashion jumps so far ahead of the game. It’s not the insanity it seems. Fashion shows have become a media sensation reported on outlets all over the world, but that is not how they originated. Fashion shows were for buyers. Not you and I, but (capital B) Buyers who work for stores. Buyers would travel to attend the shows and then place orders for their stores. Lines would then contract with their manufacturers, fabric suppliers, etc. to fill those orders. The turnaround time from order to delivery was not the mere weeks we see today in the fast fashion stores, who steal a look from the runway and have it in stores in two weeks to a month. Pattern houses would send representatives to fashion shows to sketch their impressions, and create looks for the home sewer. Last, but certainly not least, were the fashion magazines who would send reporters and photographers. The two big fashion issues each year still take months to create, using material from those shows two calendar seasons before.

We take for granted the speed at which our modern world works, but quality manufacturing, publishing, and other ventures work on much longer lead times than our Amazon Prime habits would have us think. Today’s turnaround times for fashion are dramatically shorter than in decades past, but still require months of preparation. Imagine the stress of working for the fashion houses themselves… They were designing and producing the F/W 2018-2019 looks as soon as (and before) the Spring Summer 2018 shows last September were done and broken down!

How about you? Do you work in retail and see the trickle down from the runways to your shop? Do you enjoy the spectacle of fashion week (wherever it may be)? I love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts in the comments, below!

My Spring and Summer Style Picks (A Work In Progress)

My Spring and Summer Style Picks (A Work In Progress)

I have what Rudyard Kipling called in The Elephant’s Child, ‘satiable curtiosity. I am curious about everything, so last fall, when the Spring/Summer 2018 fashion shows were in the news, I was making notes. Not looking for clothing! Just noting what style inspirations, colors, and ideas were showing on the runways. Like most of us, I am a mass market shopper (and consignment shopper); I don’t buy from the runway.

I jot down the trends I see, and start pulling images that interest me from ads, catalogs, and magazines. I save on-line images as well. Over time I start to see commonalities in the images. These common threads are trends I may be interested in trying. Maybe it’s the sherbet colors/pastels trend. Or the bright yellow color trend. (Love the color, but it doesn’t love me, so I’ll skip it for clothes thank you, but a great beach tote? Or a bracelet to stack with others?) Thanks, but no thanks is the vinyl/plastic trend for me. Although, a bubble umbrella like the one I had when I was a child would make me smile!

In a previous post I mentioned that I try to work a French 5 Piece Wardrobe plan. This is for me. It’s not something I regularly suggest to clients, unless they have a planning and structure bent. I keep a working Polyvore board with my next season’s 5 thoughts on it, and pop on new pieces as I see them. This is a great way to have a visual to go along with the Wardrobe Wishes list in my calendar. It lets me see how my chosen 5 may work with the rest of my wardrobe. I pile more than 5 pieces on my board, and move them about and play with them, adding and subtracting over about a month to see what sticks, what keeps my attention, and what doesn’t. It’s far less expensive to make choices this way rather than buying and (possibly) returning.

The five pieces I chose for this board make my heart feel light, and support my 2018 Style Resolutions. Pink is one of my happy colors, which considering that I used to hate pink, is a real style revolution; a pink purse feels playful. The trouser jean looks fresh to me after all the seasons of skinny, but not hippie chick like some of the flares I am seeing. (They are fab for the right personality, but not mine.) The patterned dress (should) suit my shape, the colors are palette friendly, and the pattern looks like confetti! That says “fun” to me! The mint blouse is still an if… I am not a fan of long sleeves, but love the softer shade for spring and summer; it feels cool and calming. Maybe another sleeve in that color? Same for the pale rose shoes. I love the low walkable heel, and the soft-but-not-white shade. I do have concerns about keeping them clean and finding polish for them… So they may be struck off; I have high need for practicality.

How about you? Where do you find your style inspiration? Are you a planner, or more of an impulse buyer? How do you describe your style? I love to hear from you… Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Thanks to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!

Trend Watch-Floral Blouses

Trend Watch-Floral Blouses

I know florals for spring are a recurring trend, but wow. Gucci went over-the-top, madly floral from head to toe in Spring/Summer of 2016, and has continued with that theme. It has finally bloomed across (sorry) the mass-market ready-to-wear that most us shop. Above, you can see a few I have fallen in love with…

Floral blouses of every hue and variation are on-line, and showing up in the stores. I struggle with floral blouses, because on my  “femme d’une certaine age” person, those lovely florals can look plain old old lady, unless they are styled with a youthful twist. For my style, a floral blouse with dress trousers would be a no go, but with a pair of frayed cropped jeans and booties or sandals, great! (I’m not sure I’m sold on a blouse I can only style with jeans…) Keeping the texture sheer helps lighten and modernize the look as well. Abstract and oversize florals, like the ones showing up this season, can be easier for more mature women to wear without looking dated. Realistic and ditsy florals are often better left to the young who can wear them with an ironic twist. Even the more traditional spring ginghams and polka dots can be seen combined with floral embroidery for those who like their flowers less flowery.

Floral shoes are everywhere. This is a trend I can jump all over! Tapestry, embroidery, or just plain print. I have a pair I pull out every summer, and would love to add this navy embroidered lovely from White House Black Market to my collection, but I am trying to leave room for serendipity in my Spring/Summer 5. (And I know I really do not NEED another pair of shoes!)

Floral jewelry was everywhere this past winter, and some darling pieces can be picked up for a song and worn to death this spring and summer. Sequins are another huge SS2018 trend, and quite a few of the clearance necklaces at Talbot’s right now combine the floral and sequin trends. If statement necklaces are your thing, you may want to check them out! I can see one thrown on with jeans and a tee for a fresh and relaxed look. Or tuck one inside the collar of an oversized boyfriend shirt.  Even Lands’ End is running with this one, so you can find your floral fix everywhere, and at a price point that makes your wallet happy.

If just dipping your toe in the water is more your style, take a look in your own jewelry box, and scarf pile. You probably have a floral motif in there somewhere. Maybe an old brooch? Dig them out, and enjoy a touch of spring now, even when the warm weather seems like it will never come.

How do you feel about florals? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Let me know in the comments below! I love to hear what you think…

And thank you to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!

 

Holiday Dressing

Holiday Dressing

What makes a great holiday outfit? Ugly Christmas sweaters aside, what feels festive to you? It should really depend on the event. Caroling on a chilly night requires a different  ensemble than the office holiday ‘do. (Speaking of the holiday office ‘do… It’s still office, and NOT the place for cleavage, bra or booty!)

Some Sparkle

Sparkle doesn’t have to be diamonds. Choose the metallic shade that looks best on you. Statement earrings are a great way to keep attention on you (your face), and avoids the jangle of bracelets and the swinging and catching of necklaces that many find annoying. An inexpensive pair can be your holiday go-to. A metallic clutch to go along is another easy and inexpensive touch. Jeans, a tee and your earrings and clutch change the whole vibe from van driving to festive! Metallic “clutches” are everywhere this year. Look beyond the handbags to cosmetic bags and electronics gear organizers. Also look in the office supplies at supply pouches… These tend to be less expensive than the ones you find in the handbag department, and you can use them next year to keep your tote organized!

Some Cozy

What’s cozy? Please don’t  wear puppies or kittens! Think corduroy, cut or uncut, velvet, velveteen, velour, faux fur, fuzzy or marled knits. I have seen some great velvety cosmetic bags at my local big box store (red circles on the front…) with a tassel zipper pull that would make a great clutch. Cozy isn’t only for tops, though. Try corduroy or velvet jeans, or a faux fur scarf, in whatever color makes you look radiant. The point of faux is to be faux, so don’t worry about picking a “realistic” color!

Some Elegance

The soft sheen of pearls or pewter brings light to the darkness of winter. Imagine the glow of of white mistletoe berries contrasted with the green leaves. The draping of a waterfall cardigan can bring an elegant feel, or the luxurious hand of cashmere warms and regulates temperature like a dream. Lace, anyone? An oversized statement necklace, bracelet or ring that isn’t blingy feels elegant as well. Yours might be a wide silver cuff bracelet. Antique pieces and family heirlooms (grandma’s brooch or locket, or your aunt’s wedding ring that she wore on the boat over from the old country) all speak of tradition and connection. Don’t save them for “good”! If a holiday celebration isn’t good, what is? (I drink box wine from crystal, so any day is good for me!)

Some Color

The traditional reds and greens of the season feel festive, but avoid pairing them together. Even in their grown up version (burgundy and hunter) they can feel cliché, and look childish rather than youthful. The easy mix is with black, and since that can be too harsh for many complexions, why not try your favorite shade of red/pink or green with winter white, grey, taupe, or blue? Light blue and white are a great holiday combo, too, evoking clear skies and a snowy landscape. If you must wear all black, please at least add colored jewelry and a pashmina to soften and cheer your look.

Comfort!

Comfortable is a must for me! If the dress requires 2 Spanx and a pliers to pull up the zipper, you aren’t going to have very much fun. Unless you are a starlet whose job is to be stunning and you can act well enough to be happy even when boa-constricted, please try on your outfit before it’s time to head out the door, and determine if you are garbed in something you can spend the night nibbling, dancing, and socializing in. If sitting and entertaining small children are in the plan, take that into account, as well. Too tight trousers to the holiday concert will make you wish you the sugar-plum fairy would just drop dead so you can get home and into your jammies. Uncomfortable clothes = Bah, humbug!

What is your favorite holiday outfit? What item do you wear that always makes you feel special? Share in the comments below!

And many thanks to Katherine at #notlamb for the LinkUp!

Wardrobe Audit: Not As Seen on TV (Closet Work)

Wardrobe Audit: Not As Seen on TV (Closet Work)

If you read my last post, and followed the steps, congratulations! The actual “work” will be so much easier! Make sure you tackle the Closet Work when you are fresh, and do not start if you need to go to bed in 3-4 hours!

Grab Your Supplies

Review your prep work adjective list/Style Recipe draft. Get out your vacuum cleaner and a duster. You may as well clean your closet while it’s empty. It is much easier when you are not fighting shoes on the floor and hangars on the rod! You will need a full length mirror, good lighting, two good-sized boxes or bags for Give Away, and Throw Away, and water. Auditing is thirsty work!

Dive into Your Closet!

Take everything (Yes, everything!) out of your closet, and lay it on your bed. If you can’t fit it all on your bed, lay a sheet on the floor and put the overflow there. Take anything that is not part of your wardrobe (old tennis rackets, lost hidden Christmas gifts, trip souvenirs, empty shoe boxes, old dry cleaning bags) and get those out of your bedroom, and out of your way. Grab your vacuum cleaner and a duster; take five minutes and clean your closet, the shelves, the hanging rod, the floor. It’s surprising how much dust and dirt can find its way in there.

Now that you have a clean closet (personal boutique) to return your clothes to, it’s time to tackle the clothes themselves. You are going to assess each piece, one at a time. Pick up each piece, try it on, and ask yourself these questions: (You may need to modify the first one if you are pregnant, or in a post-partum phase… (If baby is three, that is not really post-partum any more!)

  1. Does it fit me? (If you know it doesn’t fit, don’t worry about trying it on. Save your time, and skip to number 7.)
  2. Does it flatter?
  3. Does it align with my adjectives, and how I want to be perceived?
  4. Does it make me happy?
  5. Would I buy this again if I saw it in a store today?
  6. Does this suit the woman my adjectives describe?
  7. If the answer to any of these is no, then it should not be in your closet. If no, put it into one of your boxes or bags. If a charity shop can sell it, wonderful! Note: If you wouldn’t buy it from a charity shop its present condition, be brave and put it into the throw away box.
  8. Pick up the next item and repeat the process. And again.

Notice that I did not ask if you have worn it in six months or a year. Time rules are arbitrary, and don’t work well for special occasion wear. Maybe you have a beautiful fitting cocktail dress that you love for weddings and the rare occasion, but you just haven’t had a recent occasion. Keep it! The same goes for very seasonal clothes. We have relatives who live in cold climes. Winter where I live may not require a serious parka, but if we travel to visit family in the winter, I don’t want to be buying a new coat. I store really out of season items (wool sweaters in summer, and the above-mentioned parka) in a storage box elsewhere in my home, and keep a small box under my bed with the clothes I wear for yard work or when we go camping; these don’t need to clutter up my closet. My closet is small by American standards (about 4 feet wide) and stores all my in season items. My dresser contains only undies, accessories, and workout gear.

Sort and Organize

Everything that passes the test has earned a place in your wardrobe, and can be put back into your closet. As you put items back in, group them by category, all the tops together, bottoms together (you can subgroup as well–by skirts and trousers if you like), dresses together, etc. Within each category, order the pieces by color, and from light to dark. This is a timesaver! When looking for that pink top in the morning, you won’t have to hunt through a rod full of clothes. If it is not there with the pink/red tops, it must be in the laundry. Sorted!

If you did not assess your shoes and bags, now is the time to do so. Group belts, bags, and shoes in the same way. After the clothes, shoes, and bags are done, let’s get those boxes/bags for charity out to the car. Take the throw away bag or box to the trash. (If you have fabric recycling in your area, run with that! The less in the landfill, the better.)

Capsules and Shopping Plans

Now that you know what you have, it’s time to see what you need. With fewer (and easier to see) clothes in your closet, it’s time for some capsule planning. A capsule is about 10-15 pieces that mix and match. Try two toppers (sweaters, vests, or jackets), 4 bottoms, six tops, and three pair of shoes. Every top should coordinate with every bottom. A capsule like this can create 72 outfits, not including the variety you can add by changing shoes and accessories. If your work wear and play clothes are very distinct in refinement level, you may need to build a capsule for each. If you do not have enough pieces to create a capsule, you now know what wardrobe holes need to be filled.

Say you pull out the 6 tops and two toppers, but your only bottoms are one pair of jeans, a dark trouser, and a grey trouser. What might fit your lifestyle? A denim skirt? Or maybe a grey straight skirt for work? A pair of slim chinos? If you like dresses, maybe a great LDD (little dark dress) to dress up or down is the right choice for you. Start a shopping list for the next time you are out and about. Filling those wardrobe holes will give you the biggest bang for your shopping buck, and less frustration in front of your closet in the morning!

One last hint… I love the hooks inside my closet door on which to hang my clothes for the next day up in the evening. Voila! Less decisions in the morning means a less stressed me!

Step back and look at your new custom-curated boutique… Satisfying, isn’t it?

I find lost treasure every time I go through my closet. What did you find that you didn’t know was in there? Please share in the comments below!

Fall Dressing in Hot Weather

You are tired of your summer clothes. Fall fashions are in the stores. Fall outfit inspirations like this one by Kotnourka are in magazines, and on websites everywhere. (Yes, Pinterest, I see you!) These looks are lovely, but where I live, daytime temps are still pushing 90 degrees (hurricane notwithstanding), and even the thought of a sweater causes heatstroke. Inspiration boards abound with knee high boots with jeans tucked in, plaid scarves casually thrown over tee shirts, leather jackets, turtlenecks, long duster cardigans over another sweater, chunky knits, and ponchos. Where I live, just trying these on in the store brings on a rash. So what’s a girl to do? Here are a few ways to get your fall on when your climate is just too darn hot…

Darker Colors

Maybe you will be wearing sleeveless tops well into November. (We certainly do here!) Sort through your closet (or drawers) and pull out the darker ones, the more traditionally fall tones. If you are cool complexioned, try wine, navy, dark turquoise/teal, deep raspberry, spruce green, or purple. Warmer complexioned ladies might like brown, mustard, pumpkin, olive or loden green, warm turquoise or teal, warm navy, or red-violet. These feel more like fall than the brights, pastels, or whites and creams that so often take over a hot weather wardrobe. Even something as small as a darker nail polish can give you the change you crave!

Gold Jewelry

I don’t know why, maybe it’s the reference to turning leaves, but gold jewelry and less shiny pieces look and feel more fall to me than silver. If you don’t wear gold because it doesn’t suit your coloring, then try rose gold, pewter, or hematite finshes. I am a cool complexioned girl myself, and don’t look my best in gold, but I pull a few pieces out and wear them to death in the fall, and then tuck them away again until the next year. Layering a few necklaces can be a great way to get a layered look without the heat.

Rock Those Boots

I know, didn’t I say boots and heatstroke just above? Rock booties for a fall look with less heat. Or if you are a knee-high boot lover like I am, as soon as the daytime highs drop low enough (everyone has a different number for this one–mine’s between 75 and 80 degrees) wear those boots with bare legs and a dress. No one needs to know you have little cotton socks on keeping your feel cool and dry!

Suede

Here’s another material that just shouts fall, and the color doesn’t really even matter. Dig out that cute suede bag, or go hit the craft store and wrap some suede cord twice around your neck for a choker. Suede fringe or tassel necklaces are everywhere. I love the new Pearlsueded by Premier Designs ( I get nothing for this plug, it’s just a darling piece that is adjustable, so you can wear it short, too. How cool is that?) If you don’t have a PD jeweler, let me know below, and I can connect you with mine. (She’s so fabulous, my husband jokingly calls her “my dealer”!)

What are your favorite fall cheats for hot weather? I would love to hear them! Please share in the comments below…