Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Tag: color

I Need a Hero! (AKA: I’ve Got Nothing to Wear!)

I Need a Hero! (AKA: I’ve Got Nothing to Wear!)

Do you stare into your generous closet and think “I have nothing to wear!”? Some days we are lacking inspiration, but often we have a Heroes/Basics imbalance. Every closet needs both, but when we have too many of one, and not enough of the other, it can be hard to get dressed.

What’a a Hero?

A Hero is a standout piece. It could be the color, cut, or details that make it a Hero. Maybe it’s an artist’s print on a shirt, or a white shirt with dramatic pleating or ruffles all around the neckline and hem, or an oversized pair of cropped trousers. A shocking pink pair of suede pumps can be a hero, as can a bold necklace. You might collect ethnic jewelry that piled together makes a Hero. What kind of Heroes are you drawn to? I have been told that my clothes are boring. I’m okay with that, because I am happier in clothes that are Basics, and love Hero accessories. That’s just part of my personal style. Others prefer Hero clothes, and more Basic accessories, and some like both.

Too Many Basics

When your closet is filled with Basics and not enough Heroes, dressing can be a bore. Think about a recipe with chicken, rice, and broccoli. There’s nothing wrong with the ingredients, but there’s no pizzazz. To give the meal flavor, you need some spices, or at least some onion and garlic! An outfit of all basics with no Hero lacks focus and interest. If your closet is full of Basics with no Heroes to provide the spice, you can feel like there’s Nothing-to-Wear.

Too Many Heroes

Too many Heroes in an outfit gives us the opposite effect. Instead of no interest or focal point, we can have competing focal points. This kind of outfit distracts us from the person in the clothing. There are some people who have a gigantic personality (often Dramatic or Rebellious) and look perfectly themselves in these over-the-top outfits, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The inimitable Iris Apfel is a woman for whom there is no such thing as too much! A closet full of Heroes can be hard to mix and match, and leave us feeling the same Nothing-to-Wear angst.

Finding Your Balance

One rule of thumb is to make sure you include a Hero in every outfit to prevent the snooze factor. Some people wear more than one hero, but keep them corralled to a particular category, like adding Hero accessories to an outfit of Basic clothing, or Basic accessories to Hero clothing. It takes some experimentation to find your comfort level. Taking a good look in your closet and identifying your Heroes and Basics is a great place to start. If you have no Heroes, it may be time to pick up one or two, and if you have no Basics, you may need a trip to the store as well, but beware! Stay focused on what basics will bring out the best in your Heroes. Pick a Hero out of your closet tomorrow and build your outfit around it by adding some Basics, and wear it all day. You might find that you have a lot more to wear than you thought!

What’s your favorite Hero? Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you to Katherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the link-up!

 

The Perfect Handbag

The Perfect Handbag

I spent years looking for the perfect handbag. I don’t literally mean years wandering the Earth in pursuit of the perfect bag, but I might have had a wee obsession. Pretty much anywhere I went that had anything vaguely resembling a handbag, I would look. This led to some amusing, and some incredibly practical purchases, and quite a bit (Oh, let’s just say a lot!) of wasted money. It wasn’t until much later that I thought to spend  time thinking about what I thought made a handbag “perfect.” Let me make something clear; I despise (No, that is not too strong a word.) the tyranny of “perfect.” There is only one perfect, and it’s not found on this Earth. I prefer: Ideal for you now. This is where I struggle with the what-every-woman-MUST-own lists discussed in a previous post. At some point I discovered that there is no perfect handbag, or even ideal, but there is the handbag that best works for at this point in my life, and for particular occasions.

Here are a variety of questions to ask yourself before exchanging your cold hard cash (or credit card) for a new bag…

Know Thyself Questions

  • What is my life like? Do I need a bag that is easy to clean? (Maybe that cute suede hobo isn’t such a good idea…) Where will it live at home or work? On the floor? In a drawer? In a coat closet? On the dining room table where spills happen?
  • What do I want this bag for? Everyday? A special event like a wedding? Travel?
  • How much do I like to carry around with me daily? Am I the kitchen sink woman, or a  phone, credit card, and lipstick woman? Or am I  somewhere in between? (If you are the kitchen sink woman, know that you will spend more time and money at the doctor’s office later!)
  • Do I want a bag du jour (the latest trend), or one that will stand the test of time?
  • Do I want to change bags often, or have one that goes with “everything”? (Note: There is no bag that goes with everything. There are bags that go with your everyday everything!)
  • How much do I have to spend? How much do I want to spend? (These are two very different questions!) Am I willing to spend more than I want to get what I really like? (Note: I would NEVER suggest you spend more than you have to get what you really like!)
  • What size and shape bags are best for my personality, body shape, and scale?
  • Is brand important to me? Do I like carrying a recognizable bag? Do I like logos? Or do I prefer to go stealth? (Be honest here…  It is a pity to spend a fortune on a bag just to find out you don’t want to be advertising for a particular company. And it is OK to want a bag with someone else’s initials if that makes you happy!)

Know Your Bags Questions

  • Do I prefer a shoulder strap? How long? A cross body? Maybe a handheld satchel is more my speed. Or does it need to be convertible to handle all these options? Some women prefer a wristlet or clutch.
  • How much structure do I want? Soft and squishy, or more structured? What shapes do I like best? Soft and rounded? More angular? Taller than wide (North/South) or wider than tall (East/West)? Frequently there is a connection between angularity and structure, but lately there are structured round bags everywhere, and square squishy totes, so be sure to keep your structure and shape preferences defined.
  • What materials do I prefer? Fabric and PVC (even when called Vegan Leather) are, for the most part, less long wearing than leather. If you have issues with leather bags, expect to replace yours more frequently.
  • Do I have a hardware preference? I have seen a woman reject her (otherwise) ideal bag because the hardware was silver colored and she only wears gold.
  • What colors do I like best? What goes with the majority of my outfits? Do I want a bag that blends with, or stands out from my outfit? (Hint: A black or camel handbag stands out like a sore thumb on many women; a handbag in the same color as your hair goes with all your outfits, because you wear your hair wherever you go.)

If this seems like an awful lot of questions to ask before heading to the shops or to your computer, take a moment to think about what else you could do with the $25-$2,500 (or more!) one can spend on a handbag. (Movie, or family vacation…) Spending time thinking through what your ideal bag looks/feels/smells/carries like is well worth the time it will save you shopping. Think of it as the shopping equivalent of Measure Twice, Cut Once.

Do you have a favorite bag? Or did you, but it is no longer right for your life? Please share in the comments below!

 

            

 

10, 20, 30

10, 20, 30

Fashion lists are everywhere! The Top 10 Items You Must Have for Fall. 20 Things No Woman Should Wear after 40.  30 Things Every Woman Should Own by the Age of 30. Magazines and fashion websites are full of these lists. Hooooey! I don’t think there is any clothing that is a must-have for EVERY woman. My must-haves and yours will vary widely. Mine includes a pair of red shoes. You may have absolutely no need for red shoes. I do not need the ubiquitous black pumps on almost every list… Not anymore!

To Thine Own Self Be True

This is where the rubber hits the road. Personality, values, and lifestyle. These are what will create your personal must-have list. I know a woman who wear jeans almost daily, and life without them would be unimaginable. I know another woman who has not worn a pair of jeans in more than 30 years, and sees no reason to change that. The list requiring The Perfect Dark Jean is not for the latter, nor is the one calling for a tuxedo jacket for the former! Know yourself, know your lifestyle, know your values.

Categories (and Perfect)

What can be learned from the lists is categories of clothing that may need to be addressed in your wardrobe. Note the MAY! When the list calls for The Perfect White Shirt, and you are a warm-complexioned mom with 3 preschool children at home, who despises collars because they make you feel like you are choking, the white shirt is probably not for you! (Yes, that sentence was waaaay too long!)  Let’s take that shirt and think about the purpose it serves… Its category: light colored top to pair with jeans, skirts, and shorts. Maybe your Perfect White Shirt is a nicely finished ivory tee that can be machine washed and dried. The Classic Trench? Look for rain protection, in a 3 season weight. Your values may prohibit the Perfect Leather Jacket; if you love the look, find yourself a casual, rough and ready jacket in some other material. I despise the tyranny of the Perfect Anything. Perfection is not attainable here on Earth… (Settling for good enough is a problem for another post.)

What Categories Fit Your World?

If you are a yoga instructor, you will need a week’s worth of yoga gear. The rest of us, not so much. Sorry. Your life may require special clothing for work, and more casual presentable clothes for “play.” If you spend your days in the C-suites, your wardrobe should reflect that. If you never go clubbing, skip the bodycon dance dresses. The one category I do believe everyone needs to cover is the “something appropriate to wear to a funeral, or for a meeting with a lawyer or accountant.” For one woman that might be a sheath dress and a jacket, for another, dark trousers and a nice blouse. You do not want to have to run out and buy something at the last minute when you are, or someone you love is grieving. (Sorry I can’t be there for you… I have to go to the mall.)

Spend some time thinking about how you spend your time, what is important to you, and what makes you happy. Write down what you discover. When you don’t, you waste money on clothes that your closet wears, and still lack what you need. Much of what I do as an Image and Wardrobe Coach is help people figure those three things out. Some call it closet therapy!

I told you red shoes were on my list. What’s on yours? Please let me know in the comments below!

Beauty Bundles

Beauty Bundles

I love the ever amazing Brenda Kinsel, and the versatility of what she (and many others, now) calls Beauty Bundles. A Beauty Bundle (BB) is a group of coordinated accessories that can be used to add a punch to a variety of outfits. Think of them as accessory families. Now don’t panic. A BB is not fixed; you don’t have to wear all the pieces at once, and there is no set number of pieces required. You probably have some at home already…

(Please forgive my extremely amateur photos… They were taken years ago, for my own reference, ages before I ever imagined I would be blogging!)

Color or Theme?

Often, BB’s are thought of as a way to add color to an outfit, and they can be a great way to pop your neutrals, or add a second color to an outfit without feeling like you are dressed like a clown. If a Beauty Bundle is an accessory family, think of the bundle’s DNA as what makes it hang together. That DNA could be a color, or a theme. I have a polka dot problem (no there is no support group available, yet!) and pulled together a polka dot bundle. No, I would not wear all my polka dots at once, but I would mix up two or maybe three! Maybe you feel a little rebellious some days and need a Rock-n-Roll Bundle. One summer, feeling a little sad that a trip to Capri was not on my itinerary (A friend was going and I was extremely happy for her, as well as a little jealous), I pulled together a Capri beauty bundle. In my mind’s eye, that meant turquoise blue, gold, and white, and a boho luxe flair. While she was away, I joined her (in spirit) on her trip by wearing items from my Capri bundle each day. Crazy? Probably, but it made me happy, and when we did sneak off to the beach later in the summer, I packed my bundle, and that long weekend became my Capri!

Packing with a Bundle

Which brings us to one of the ways Beauty Bundles can be most effectively used. Packing! I love to travel, and will throw together a suitcase at the drop of a hat. Weekend away is one of my favorite phrases in the English language. A BB, whether by color, or theme, can help a suitcase full of basics turn into a customized travel wardrobe. Imagine my Capri bundle on the left packed with white jeans, a white tee, a denim shirt, a turquoise tee, and a chambray sundress and a swimsuit. You would be dressed for days, with very little in your bag!

Pulling Together a Bundle

Since color is the easiest place to start, head to your closet or drawers and choose a colored accessory. It could be a pair of shoes, a scarf, a handbag, or jewelry. This is your starting point. Now look through your other pieces and see what else you have that shares that piece’s color DNA. Look everywhere. Bandanas count, too! Take a snapshot of your bundle, and next time you put on jeans and a white tee, add two or three pieces from your bundle, and see if you don’t feel more polished.

Good Colors/Bad Colors

Good Colors/Bad Colors

I love color! As a matter of fact, if you want to see me break into a grin, just hand me a new box of crayons… There’s so much potential in those little bits of wax and pigment! Now, I should make something clear. Just because I love color, does not mean I wear just any color, or lot of it, and I don’t wear a lot of colors at once. I do love color, especially the right colors on the right person!

What is a Good Color?

The power of color is that it can make you look like you have just won the lottery, or are at death’s door. Some people will look at a color, say Pantone’s Golden Lime, and say “Yuck!” because it is a color that does not appeal to them. Maybe they had a bad experience with that color, or maybe they know that it makes them look like death on a stick. They can’t imagine that color being flattering, but there are people on whom Golden Lime will look amazing! Golden Lime will make them look gorgeous, vibrant, and like they have a fabulous secret.

How do you know what colors look good on you? Have you every worn an item and, all day long, people remarked, “You look great today! Did you do something different?” You were wearing one of your best colors. Notice that I did not say they commented on the color. There’s a difference. In the first case, you were wearing the color, and in the second, it was wearing you. Every color is a “good color,” on the right person, and a “bad color” on the wrong person.

Your Perfect Colors

You were given your perfect coloring at birth, and that coloring gradually changes throughout your life. The colors and combinations that look best on you will be a reflection of the colors that are already a part of you. Some take that to mean that if you have brown hair you should wear brown, but it is not that simple. If you look closely at your iris, you will see a variety of colors there. A green eyed person may have 5 different shades of green in her eyes, along with the outer ring which she may have thought was brown, but on closer inspection turns out to be a deep smoky navy. Look, also, at your cheeks. There are so many different shades of pink there when you blush. All of those colors in your eyes, and your God-given blush are beautiful colors for you! (And so many more!) Next, we add in the other colors from the color wheel, in the correct values, that are complements of your personal colors, along with the various triads, and analogous colors that all come from your personal coloring.

I Love Orange…

Confession: I love orange, but I do not wear it. In any shade. It makes me look ghastly. I indulge my love of orange in other ways. My favorite coffee mug is orange, and it brightens my morning. I surround myself with colors I love, and I try not to wear the ones that don’t love me…

What is your favorite color? Let me know in the comments below!

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.