Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Tag: personality

Grooming… What’s the Bare Minimum?

Grooming… What’s the Bare Minimum?

Hi there, fabulous reader!

One of the trickiest parts of my job can be a discussion with a client who needs to take his or her grooming up a notch. There are many reasons people let their attention to grooming wander. One is when our life/schedule goes haywire, for example: after a baby is born, or when we are taking care of a sick family member. I get it. In an emergency, we have other priorities. Some things fall by the wayside. Another common reason is depression. When the emergency-state grooming status becomes the norm, we may have a problem.

What Is the Bare Minimum?

Hygiene is non-negotiable! Body washed. Most of us need antiperspirant/deodorant. Hair washed and brushed. Teeth brushed. Nails clean and clipped or rounded. Moisturize your skin to keep it healthy. Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN! Keep stray hairs clipped. (I know these can seem overwhelming with a new baby, or when you are in high intensity caring mode. But taking the 10 minutes needed for these will help YOU feel better prepared to handle what comes your way!)

What About Makeup?

Makeup is big business. In the US in 2016, consumers spent close to 985 million dollars on foundation alone! (Data) The top 5 biggest spending cosmetics categories were: foundation, mascara, lipstick, eye liner, and powder. On those top 5, we spent more than 3.5 billion dollars. Yes, that is billion with a B. Just in the U.S. Egads! Google “makeup tutorial” in YouTube and you get more than 21 million hits… That’s not even including all the product reviews videos you can find. If I am looking to learn a new technique (or for Halloween ideas), I will look through a few ‘tutes, but most of these YouTubers are spending more time and money on makeup than I am interested in investing. When a “look” takes 25 minutes to talk through and “do”… it’s not happening for me. I didn’t even spend that long on my hair and makeup on my wedding day. I’ve been told that I am low-maintenance. (Unfortunately, as I age, maintenance seems to be taking longer and longer…)

Makeup is not a necessity. When I was a girl and wanted to start wearing makeup, I remember my mother telling me that once you start wearing mascara, you never go back. She was right. I do have no mascara days, but they are rare. I wear makeup because it makes me happy, and not because I think there is something wrong with me. I have a “more defined me” approach to makeup, and a makeup bare minimum, too.

Just as clothing has “levels of refinement”, I have three makeup levels of refinement. Play, Work, and Evening/Social would be my makeup levels. I don’t understand the full face, sculpted brows, and illumination look for every day.

Level 3: Play  Even on a bare-faced play day, I still tame my brows with a brush, slap on some powder or tinted moisturizer (depending on the season), and slick on lip balm (with a tint). If I put on a smile, the rest is just icing. A positive attitude gives you a glow that no makeup can replicate.

Level 2: Work  My husband can tell if it’s a work day, just by my face. No, not that I have a long face on a work day! I love my job! It’s just that somewhere along the line he noticed that work days = eyeliner.

Level 1: Evening/Social More polished, more finished, more defined. I tend to leave the darker lip and nail colors for evening, and if it’s a daytime event, stick with the lighter shades. Although a red lip and subtle eye are a fun daytime event look, too!

How about you? What’s your bare minimum? Or your favorite product? What don’t you leave the house without? Let’s start a conversation, and comment below…

Stay Stylish!

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

 

 

 

5 Tips to Look More Stylish

5 Tips to Look More Stylish

Back in December, a reporter from our local paper asked me for three tips to look more stylish without leaving the house. After some digging, I discovered he meant without spending any money, although I can do that without leaving home! Thank you, Internet…  As that article was going into the business section of the paper, I gave him three suitable to both men and women. Today want to share 5 clothing-oriented tips, some geared more towards those of us of the female persuasion, to help you feel just a bit more stylish as you head out the door.

Fit (and Alterations)

I have to regularly remind my clients (and myself!) about fit One of the easiest ways to up your style quotient is to wear clothes that fit. By fit, I do not mean clothes that you can get into, or that don’t fall off. I mean that fit YOU properly. I could sing all day long about this, but what it comes down to is: if you are not employed as a fit model, then you should expect to have almost all your clothing altered. Some brands will be better for you than others, but in general, expect to add the cost of alterations to anything you buy. If you don’t like it enough to pay for the alterations, you probably don’t love it enough to add it to your wardrobe!

Petite Special: Our clothing should have less ease than that of a tall girl. Extra fabric can make us look like we are in borrowed clothing!

Oversized vs. Skinny

When you wear an oversized top, pair it with a narrower bottom, and vice versa. A wider or more relaxed bottom pairs better with a more fitted top. Unless you are 6 foot tall and svelte, the oversized over oversized silhouette is overwhelming. (Like all the “overs” in that last sentence!) And skinny over skinny can look like you are going clubbing.  Think about which body zone is best for you to oversize. If you are generously endowed through the hips and thighs and narrow through the torso, oversizing the torso is going to make you look bulky all over. Show off your narrower half (most women have one) by keeping that the more fitted piece. If you are balanced top and bottom, remember to relax only one.

Third Piece

Adding a third piece to a simple top and bottom creates more interest. Humans are drawn to odd numbers. Even babies will stare at odd numbered groupings of objects longer than even numbered groupings. If your top and bottom are jeans and a tee, add a third piece with a topper: a vest, cardigan, jacket, or even a scarf, hat, or statement necklace.

Love Your Leather

Take care of your leather goods. Clean and polish your shoes. Take them to be reheeled and resoled. Care for your bag. Clean it gently, empty it and vaccuum out the inside. I don’t advocate emptying it each night a la Marie Kondo, but please don’t use your bag as a shopping cart. Even small bags can be an eyesore. A bulging wristlet gives the same impression as trousers two sizes too small! If it is bulging, you need a purse clean out, or a larger bag. If you absolutely must carry the kitchen sink, make sure to set the bag on a flat surface rather than hanging it. Give the handles a break. A large, heavy tote is often better hand carried, rather than over the shoulder. Your back, shoulder, and MD will thank you.

Accessorize

No, accessorize is not just the name of a shop in the UK! Accessorizing is one of the fastest ways to get your style on, and usually takes less than 30 seconds! Pop on an accessory or two, or even better, three (You already know how I feel about odd numbers.) on your way out the door. There are times in our lives when certain accessory choices may not make any sense. One of our sons was an incorrigible earring grabber. I switched to clip-ons for more than a year; other children will tug any necklace they see. Maybe this will be your life season of scarves, or outrageous sunglasses. One of the most common questions I get from women is about creating the Effortless Chic look. You don’t need to pile on the bling! If that is your personality, go for it! But if it is not, too much flash will feel and look uncomfortable. Choose one necklace, or a great bracelet, or stand-out earrings. Even a scarf can be the touch that makes the difference between rolled-out-of-bed-and-put-on-the-clothes-on-the-chair and intentional dressing. That one touch makes the difference that says “I meant to do this.”

Corollary: If you have noticeable holes in your ears, wear earrings, especially if you have short hair. Empty holes look like unbuttoned buttons, or unsnapped snaps. If you don’t want to be bothered, find a small stud or hoop that you leave in all the time.

Which of these 5 tips is a no-brainer for you? And which is more of a challenge? Please share in the comments below… I love to hear from you!

 

Building a (Wardrobe) House

Building a (Wardrobe) House

A lovely woman named Victoria (in a Facebook group I play in) likened building a wardrobe to building a house. She had been having trouble because she had been buying all kinds of lovely things, but still didn’t feel like her style was growing. Then she realized those beautiful accessories were like the throw pillows, and paintings in a house. Until you have a foundation and walls, and furnishings, all the trimmings in the world won’t help! I loved her analogy and asked to borrow it. With her permission, I am going to push the analogy further to examine how a wardrobe is built. Thank you, Victoria!

The Blueprints

Your blueprints are what determine how your house is built. Your wardrobe blueprint is your plan. It should take into account your terrain (your body shape), your budget, and your needs. Your needs are determined by your lifestyle, values, and personality. Choosing a palette can help give your plan definition.

The Foundations

I’ll be lazy here and let Foundations be foundations. Your underthings. Here I include panties, bras, camis, socks and hose, and myriad other bits. Shapewear, too, if that’s your thing. As frilly and flimsy, or sturdy and practical as you like

The Structure

The Structure is the studs, plumbing and ductwork that hold your house together and make it liveable. Your wardrobe Structure is the basics you come back to day after day. These are the workhorses of your wardrobe that you can always count on. For one woman that might be jeans and a tee, for another–a skirt suit, another–a dress. They are usually simple pieces in solids. Your basics should be versatile and comfortable. (No, that does not mean all yoga pants.) A wardrobe full of Structure pieces will keep you protected and covered (like an empty house) but get boring very quickly.

The Furnishings

At home, the furnishings are what make your structure livable. You could live in an empty house, but it’s much more comfortable with beds, tables, and chairs! Your wardrobe Furnishings are different from Structure pieces. You might think of them as wardrobe Heroes, pieces that definitely stand out. It could be the color, cut, pattern, or detailing that makes an item a Furnishing item rather than a Structure piece. Frequently tops, and statement accessories fill this category. You don’t want to wear them day after day because they are quite memorable. A wardrobe full of Furnishings with no solid Structure leaves you with a closet of nothing to wear. (Kind of like a room set up outside… It may look fabulous, but you don’t want to be sitting there when the rain comes!)

The Decor

This is the place you can get into trouble, or be a really easy way to revamp your look. At home it’s throw pillows, bedding, artwork, and knick-knacks that you choose to spark up your home. This is often where we indulge our personalities and quirks. If your furnishings are bright and complex, you may keep the rest of your decor items pretty simple. Or you may be like Iris Apfel, and everything is over-the-top. You wardrobe Decor pieces are your Accessories: shoes, scarves. jewelry, hair baubles, watches, purses, even phone cases.

Remodel

Most of us don’t start from scratch and build a whole new wardrobe.  That is usually reserved for those poor souls who have lost everything due to disaster. The structure is there, the foundations are solid (or may need some shoring up), but most of what we are doing is a remodel. Maybe you have outgrown your old style, or are simplifying. To remodel, you still start at the beginning with a plan, and then work through the list to see what you can still use, and what needs repairing or replacing. And if you want, you can always call in a contractor. I love to help with wardrobe remodels!

What is your favorite piece of clothing? Is it Foundation, Structure, Furnishing, or Decor? What do you have too much of? Or need more of? Please let me know in the comments below! I love to hear what you have to say…

Choosing Accessories

Choosing Accessories

A few months ago, I listed questions that can help narrow the search for a handbag. They fell into Know Thyself questions, and Know Thy Bags questions. Know Thyself is key for all purchases! Accessories covers a lot of ground, but for simplicity, I’ll limit this post to jewelry. Frequently, a client will ask me about choosing jewelry to complete an outfit. Most women have no issues with putting together a top and bottom they like, but find themselves flummoxed when it comes to completing an outfit with accessories. This is a pity because accessories can give you variety with very little investment.

The reason I love accessories is that they can change a look in just a few seconds, and are a great way to play with your style, or try on a new personality. If it’s time to let out part of you that normally doesn’t see the light of day, fashion jewelry is a great way to go! Now, if you are a woman who wears only fine jewelry, and genuine stones, this kind of play may not be for you. The expense of your preferences makes experimentation less likely, but I would still encourage you to try out some fashion pieces for a travel jewelry capsule. Taking your heirloom pieces on a cruise, or to the beach is not always good for your piece of mind or wallet.

Personality

As with all other fashion items, your personality should be the main driver for what you buy and wear. What is popular at the moment, or will be next year shouldn’t be much of a concern, unless trend chasing is a sport you enjoy. If you have a very feminine and relaxed/natural personality, biker bling and skulls are probably not for you. Likewise, the rebel is unlikely to feel called to wear a delicate pearl drop on a fine chain. Jewelry is very personal as it is often worn right next to the skin, so if a piece doesn’t reflect an aspect of your personality, it’s likely to stay in your baubles box.

Levels of Refinement

Many clothing items are wearable across levels of refinement. We see jeans everywhere from hiking trails to offices on Casual Friday, but it’s what you wear with it that makes them fit in either environment. The accessories we wear tell the world what our level of refinement is for the day. The single strand pearl bracelet above with the leather lacing is far more casual than the the triple pearl necklace. In the watches illustration, you can see how the sparkly evening watch would look out of place on the hiking trail, and the red silicone could be worn to the office, but may not have enough gravitas to keep your jeans looking professional. The leopard band women’s watch is deceptive. The gold finish and leopard band look more Level 2, but the cat ears and kitty collar bling give it a more juvenile feel.

Coloring

What is your personal coloring like? Do you look better in silver or gold? Cool colors or warm colors? An outfit of warm tones will look more harmonious with warm toned jewelry. Last spring, I watched a bride-to-be shop for a pearl necklace to wear with her wedding dress. The bright white pearls were too cool for her warm coloring; they didn’t look right on her. The coloring disconnect make them look cheap. The ivory toned pearls she tried on were lovely with her warm skin and honey hair. She was struggling, because the ivory pearls would look “funny” with her white gown. (Lesson for brides: Buy the dress that makes your skin look amazing! Not just the bright white because that’s what you (or mom) thinks the bride should wear!) Is your personal color lower color contrast, or high? Colored jewelry is a great way to add extra color to your outfits. If you are a lower color contrast woman, colored jewelry may work better with clothing in a similar shade, or with neutrals for balance.

A second color aspect to consider is the colors already in your wardrobe. Do you have a defined color palette? Do you own more neutrals or colors? Are most of your tops colored? If so, you may want to focus on finding metallic and/or neutral toned jewelry. On the other hand, if most of your tops are neutral, colored jewelry is a fabulous way to bring attention to your face where it belongs! I find that I wear more neutral colored tops in the summer because neutrals “feel” cool to me, so I try to remember to bring out my colored jewelry for summer. Other people wear more neutrals in the winter, so should look for those colored pieces to bring some brightness to grey winter days.

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? Are you a jewelry lover, or does it never make it onto your body? Please share in the comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

            

 

AUGUST GIVEAWAY!

AUGUST GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the launch of Closet Play Image (AND my acceptance as a Skilled Member of the Association of Image Consultants International — Woo Hoo!), I am giving away a Personal Style Consultation OR Wardrobe Audit ($300+ values) to one local winner to be selected at the end of August. The winner will be drawn on September 1, 2017. (Yes, Aiken is local. So is Grovetown. And Burke County! Even out Clark’s Hill Lake way…)

To help you decide which of my services would be best for you, here’s a taste of what the winning options include…

Personal Style Consultation

This comprehensive (3-4 hour) style consultation includes:

  • Personality, Lifestyle, and Values Analysis
  • What’s Working Now Breakdown
  • Physical Presence Awareness and Education
  • Somatype and Fabric Choice
  • Line and Design
  • Facial Evaluation: face shape, defining features, and other related aspects and includes recommendations for jewelry, necklines, hairstyles, makeup based on your unique qualities
  • Body Evaluation (No Measurements!): body shape, proportions, variations, clothing shapes to flatter your unique assets, what to avoid and how to camouflage, scale and how to use it to your advantage
  • Business and Social Dress Codes
  • Style File: your own customized 50+ page style portfolio with an overview diagram showing what to look for when shopping, and other reference materials for review
  • Mix and Match: a short session in your own closet, evaluating some favorite pieces and how to make them work even better for you

Wardrobe Audit

This 3-4 hour wardrobe review includes:

  • Personality, Lifestyle, and Values Analysis and
  • 3 hours closet work including:
  • What’s Working Now Breakdown
  • Piece by Piece Assessment (Fit, Potential, Modification)
  • Wardrobe Capsule Creation
  • Wardrobe Gap Evaluation
  • Shopping List for Future Purchases
  • Mix and Match: a session in your own closet, evaluating some favorite pieces and how to make them work even better for you
  • Closet Organization
  • Wardrobe Therapy File: your own customized 13 page style portfolio with capsule wardrobe worksheets and other reference materials for review
  • Removal/Donation of Unloved and Unwanted Items

How to Win

To enter, please comment below, and feel free to share with your friends! The more the merrier!

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

The familiar quote above is from CC Colton, although others have said similar through the ages. In our social media (especially Pinterest) age, where are the lines between imitation, inspiration, and cultural appropriation?

Imitation and Inspiration

I will say flat out, that I have no answers here! This is all interpretation, unless you are dealing with patent law, and piracy, neither of which involve flattery, merely profit. For fashion or style, I define imitation as the the duplication of another’s look. Maybe, you are trying to duplicate one of Kate Middleton’s maternity looks for a baby shower. You find the same dress, and the closest possible shoes, but alas, you cannot duplicate the jewels! Understandable, so you go for a matching set you have that is similar. You are trying to recreate her look. That says imitation to me. Pre-teens do this all the time; I am sure most of us have seen two or three together, (sometimes more!) wearing matching outfits.

Inspiration works on a much looser principle. You like someone’s look, and you take something from that look, and make it your own. Maybe you use the color scheme, or the proportions, or the way she mixed her jewelry, but you do it using your own items, in a way that works for your personality, shape, and lifestyle. I have a client who loves Katherine Hepburn in her wide legged trousers and crisp white shirts, and Nicole Kidman’s modern interpretation of that same Elegant Chic. My client would be swamped in wide legged trousers, and does not wear woven shirts, but she takes her inspiration from the color combinations, and simple accessories they use.

Cultural (Mis)Appropriation

Talk of imitation and inspiration often leads to a discussion on cultural (mis)appropriation. This is a messy topic, and much like the author of this article in The Atlantic, I do not want to only live the culture of my Irish, German, and Alsatian ancestors; I would look silly running about in a dirndl and shawl. (Although a pint of Guiness would not be a strain…) I can see how taking elements from another’s culture, using them for profit, and not giving credit is a problem, as the author of this Thoughtco.com article elucidates. Years ago, I was astonished when a folk-dance enthusiast and instructor commented on a necklace I was wearing. She recognized it as an antique Kuchi Wedding Necklace (I think…) and asked how it came to be in my possession. She told me these necklaces were very special pieces, and rarely left the family. When I put on the silver necklace that was a gift from my mother, I was not pretending to be an Afghan bride. My mother saw it at an estate sale, and thought the craftsmanship beautiful; it is a work of art.  I wear it with that same appreciation. I appreciate its beauty even more, now that I know more about it.

Most of us are past the imitation phase in our lives, so, where do you find inspiration for your outfits? 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.

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!