Owner Jenny shows the new linen collection from Kleen Clothing!

Four Ways to Sunday!

           
    Quote of the Week:

In doing a bit of research for fashion blog topics, one jumped off the page and spoke directly to me. “Try this Julie! I dare you!”

The challenge is as follows: Pick one key piece from your wardrobe and find ways to wear it throughout the week in unexpected ways.

The really challenging word being “unexpected.” There’s the dare in a nutshell. 

Right then and there, and since it was still early in the week, I decided to accept it.

But really…. wear the same garment several or more times during one week?  Almost unheard of for me. Alas! The deed was done and my commitment to said challenge was in cement and my toolbox is bereft of a jackhammer.

What to choose for my “key piece?” 

I did a once over in my closet and let my eyes wander from my jean jacket to my spring blazer to my favorite hoody, all items that could easily be worn several times in one week.  Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror that hangs on the closet door and decided that what I was wearing today would be the first day of my challenge and my slightly chunky boyfriend cardigan in a neutral oatmeal color would be the key piece.

Since we are having a reasonably decent sort of Spring… not the best of Springs but not the worst of Springs ….some sunshine with cooler temperatures, a boy friend cardigan is the perfect transition piece until Summer decides to make an appearance.

Boyfriend cardigans are more than a way to cover bare arms. They’re a super-versatile completer piece and one that can easily elevate your everyday look.

When it comes to cardigans, a boyfriend style is one that is longer and usually has a v-neck (think varsity sweater). This feminine version of the varsity sweater comes with great versatility. If it is slightly slouchy and chunky, all the better because it will fit easily over many different outfits and lengthens your look when worn open.

Check out the graphics and then I’ll walk you through my four days of “courtship” with my boyfriend.

Day One: This is simply what I put on that morning before even knowing I was about to be challenged. While definitely not ‘unexpected,’ it is rather classic and what I gravitate to. Putting neutrals together, especially camel and black, comes naturally to me. So I grabbed my black bootcut jeans and added the camel sweater and, since the temps are still cool, I went for my boyfriend cardi. The finishing touches for the day were the feather necklace which I hadn’t worn in over a year and I just felt like wearing it that morning. Time to start accessorizing again. And, my animal print sneakers seemed to easily pull them all together.

Day Two: I was actually going out into the world that day. I had a couple of outside appointments and wanted to be a bit more polished and even a little professional in what I wore. So I put on an asymmetrical skirt that needed more of a crop top to show off its silhouette and its length ( I have several tops that tie in front and I love them for their great ability to camouflage the tummy area). Then I added the red scarf along with my favorite red sneakers (which was probably a little less than professional but I can’t be perfect! Who can?)

Day Three: After several days off, this was a back to work day. Believe it or not, this top is a one- piece that gives a two-piece look. The black overlay is connected to the checkered piece which gives the illusion of two pieces. Since I don’t consider this top long enough to be a tunic, I added a short pencil skirt to the outfit and, since I’m not brave enough to wear the skirt without covering my legs, I added the patterned leggings along with the ankle boot. Turquoise earrings give the final pop! Spring had definitely taken a break that day, as it was back to cold and rainy. Good thing my closet hasn’t entirely switched over to the new season.

Day Four: Okay! I must fess up! This day I just played ‘dress-up” in my own closet and went for something even unexpected to me. I brought out my black lace cami which I would never wear alone but the chunky cardi gave me courage to put it with my embellished jeans and a checkered shoe. Then I found a statement necklace in my jewelry that tied together the black and neutrals. Voila! I even surprised myself and hope for a ‘flirty’ occasion in the near future to actually wear this combo.

So. . . I hope that I “unexpected you” and maybe inspired a bit of creativity in finding ways in your own closet to wear something old and make it all new again.

As for me, when Sunday arrived. . . after some quiet reflection and a few morning chores, I took it easy in my grey sweats and comfy hoody. Onward!

Ginger or Mary Ann?

So . . . With whom do you identify? Are you a Ginger or Mary Ann? Remember that question asked often after Gilligan’s Island retired from the air? Ginger, the glamorous Hollywood starlet, or Mary Ann, the girl from a farm in Kansas.

To flirt or not to flirt? . . . that is my question!

Are clothes flirtatious? I’ve been noticing that both catalogues and magazine layouts often use flirtatious word variations to describe an outfit or a specific item of clothing.

“A fun and flirty look for your next daytime event” appeared in a recent Nordstrom layout for a dress, high heels, and hat outfit. Or, in another write-up, a certain ‘labeled’ item was described as the “Summer flirt skirt!”

Without a doubt, deliciously tantalizing in just a few words. But what does that mean exactly?

Flirty.

I guess to me flirty clothes are soft and feminine with just a hint of that “come hither” look about them in their romantic drape, color, print and how they make you feel when wearing them. Do you want to swish and sway as you walk about in that skirt, dress or wide-leg pant?

Flirting is impulsive and innate, which is a good thing, ‘cause social situations without flirting would, indeed, be as boring as a stale ‘no salt’ saltine cracker. After all, you do want to be simply irresistible for the rest of your life, don’t you? I can hear you all the way from here but do not even go there! You simply aren’t allowed to dismiss flirting because of age. One is never too old to have that conversational ‘twinkle’ in the eye.

I digress! Back to the topic at hand.

May I offer a basic, rather organic approach to flirty clothes? Start by putting on a pair of soft and billowy wider leg pants that draw attention and stir imagination.

Flirtation isn’t just a first step. It’s a first step to the next first step.

So go find yourself a pair of wider leg pants and you’re all set to swish and sway, in your own flirtatious way, up that stairway.

FYI: A few tidbits about wider leg pants.

You don’t have to go from straight leg to palazzo. There are lots of widths in-between.

A wider leg pant makes one look taller and, contrary to mistaken opinion, you don’t have to be tall to wear a wider leg pant. They are a flattering silhouette on every body type. Honest and true!!

A wider leg pant, especially if it has a higher waist, flatters your natural curves.

A wider leg pant is airy, breezy and oh so comfortable.

A wider leg pant comes in many lengths from crop to ankle to full length. Each offers different and fun style possibilities. They also come in many fabrications from denim to silk… again offering tons of creative choices for both daytime and dress-up.

What are you waiting for? I’m thinking that neither Ginger nor Mary Ann would stumble on those stairs! Nor should you! Every woman’s closet needs a pair or two of wider leg pants.

Meow! Fashion Copy Cats

Quote of the week:

     "When we were small children, we all played dress-up and everybody had a 
      good time. So why stop?"
                                                 ~ Iris Apfel (I love her. Can you tell?)

There are many ways to find creativity in your own closet but one of my favorites is to get inspired by an outfit you admired on someone else. Be it your next door neighbor, a catalogue layout or a famous celebrity, study just a bit or maybe a lot of what it is they put together and then go to your own closet and recreate the look. 

All too well I remember an outfit inspired by Oprah that got me lots of comments when I wore it to a fashion seminar attended by many consultants from a line of clothes sold only in the home. I often heard this…. “ I never would have thought of putting those pieces together.” That’s exactly the point. Nor would I, except for the inspiration of how her wardrobe consultants dressed Oprah that day.

Sometimes my own closet doesn’t have one item in the total outfit that I admire and that will send me on an exploration for that one piece that I don’t have. Mind you, for me that is both a challenge and a fun trek which often ends in adding a piece to my overall closet that has versatility for more than just one look.

Let’s put this fashion trick to the test, shall we?

Not only is she a great actress, Helen Mirren is also a fashionista. Whether she’s on the red carpet or on the streets of New York with her favorite Starbucks in hand, I’ve never seen a picture of her in a “bad outfit.” And, believe me, as odd as it sounds, I have seen her in lots of pictures and hundreds of outfits. Just doing a bit of research for this post had me ‘google imaging’ for at least an hour with admiration growing by the minute for her sense of style. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she has a terrific figure that flatters everything she wears. 

Alas! 

Here she is (picture left) on the red carpet at a film festival in Tokyo wearing one of the most beautiful gowns that I’ve seen her in. Then (picture right) here she is at the airport in “put together” casual attire ready to board a flight to new destinations. 

You have just one guess as to which outfit I am going to try to duplicate in my closet. 

While I can only fantasize about beautiful designer gowns on the red carpet, those airport jeans just gotta be somewhere in my closet.

While my Kleen cardi is not white on white as Helen is wearing, I rather like the darker brown over the white lace. It gives punch to the tank top and is classic in color with the black flip flops. Not to mention that all of these items were already in my closet and awaiting new inspiration as to what might look good with what. It wasn’t important that I ‘copy-cat’ the exact look in every detail but that I ‘see’ my closet with new vision.

Try it in your own closet. Look for inspiration and follow!

SAVE OUR SATURDAYS

Attention: Customers & friends! Please take the time to answer this survey and help the retailers out to SAVE OUR SATURDAYS!

Click the link below to get started-

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MOM and ME

Quote for the Week:

      "Life doesn't come with a manual. It comes with a mother." ~ unknown

Calling all friends! Shelly needs your help with her design for this years’ Mother’s Day window.

We’d love to feature your mom and me photos in our window. If you would like to participate, please drop off your photo at the store by end of month. All photos will be returned later in May. Or, if easier, email a photo to: shellyhampton74@yahoo.com . . . as soon as possible.

Let’s fill Shelly’s window with lots of our Mom memories.

For identification and to begin the window: from top left we have Shelly’s mother and grandmother. Then there is me and my mom. And last, but definitely not least, we have Jenny and Dolores.

Come join us for this years’ Mother’s Day.

We thank you for being part of our Sound Styles family.

And because I just can’t resist. . . there is a second Quote for this Week:

    "Someday when the pages of my life end, I know that you will be
     one of the most beautiful chapters." ~ unknown


An homage to J. Peterman

Details:

Her name is Sahara. You know … a name that comes from parents who like to remember where they were vacationing when baby was ‘made.’

In the blink of an eye, Sahara can tell you who she would like to be stranded with on that imaginary isle, how to make the all-American apple pie and the ten best novels of the past year. 

Her most favorite season is Fall when the jackets and sweaters come out of the closet.

Her least favorite season is Summer because it’s not ‘figure flattering.’

And yet, entré vous into the store today, wearing her latest purchase of this bold sleeveless dress, looking so very lovely, so very polished and so very confident. . . comes Sahara.

They say aging is for sissies.

Don’t believe them.

Turn up the colors and your mood with this gorgeous dress in a hand-drawn palm print. The soft viscose feels wonderful, while the diagonal cut hugs your body and creates a feminine shape. Hem is longer and rounded at the back. Slip into a pair of flat sandals or light colored sneakers for an effortlessly feminine look.

100% viscose. Machine wash, delicate.

(Psst! Come on Cynthia… you know you’ve been admiring the dress for days now. It belongs in your closet!)

Cynthia . . .a girl’s name of Greek origin meaning “moon goddess” or, woman from Kynthos”.

Ooh la la! What goddess from Kynthos wouldn’t want to be seen in that dress?

Okay! Okay! Enough already!

I’m done!

Dress Code

Quote for the week:  
                “What is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”
                                                    ~Yves Saint Laurent 





As I swoon slowly to the left, maybe, just maybe. . .  for monsieur Saint Laurent I might be convinced to wear a dress.

Do dresses intimidate you?      
    Moi aussi! (me too)

Do dresses challenge your fashion sense?     
    Me too!

Do you think to yourself... "Where would I wear a dress?"
    Me too!

Do you assume that a dress is meant for a special occasion?
    Me too! And yet, as mother of the bride twice, I did not wear a dress 
    to either wedding. To all my high school re-unions, I've never worn
    a dress.

Do you think to yourself. . . 'I would never be able to carry off that mini-dress
or that maxi-dress or that any dress for that matter?
    Me too!













If you answered yes to any of the questions above, just what is it with us and dresses?

Okay, so let’s get real. I decided to do a little research here about dresses and the many benefits of wearing one that might relieve some of that dress intimidating negative attitude that paralyzed me this morning from putting on the one dress that hangs in my closet. Partly psychological in that I don’t think there is a dress out there that would be flattered with me in it and partly practical about the ease and comfort of wearing pants instead of a dress which has been my mindset for way too long. Not to mention that Katherine Hepburn gave us all the freedom to look great in pants.

Right now we have lots of dresses in Sound Styles…. more than I can ever remember in my sixteen years of working there. And…. they are selling! 

So… just why do I need to write this post? Certainly not to “sell dresses.” Except to me and maybe a few of you out there who suffer from the same intimidating “dress code.”

I’m doing a bit of self-analysis about this fashion wall that I haven’t yet climbed. And, I’m gambling that I’m not the only one who is letting fear of a dress stop us from wearing one.

After years of pants and jeans, I understand that getting used to wearing a dress can be a bit challenging but, perhaps there are some benefits that outweigh the pre-conceived barriers.

As my research taught me, the benefits are many.

For example:

Dresses can make your mornings simple. Have you ever run late because of indecision about “what do I wear this morning?”  Pick a pair of pants and then select a top, or… is that other top better so that after multiple combinations you are still trying to decide?  Then comes the accessories and finally what shoes?  Pick a dress, add a pair of earrings and some fun shoes, even sneakers and you’re done.

Dresses are comfortable and so many dress styles can hide body imperfections. There are many dress shapes that will work with any body. No more muffin tops or jeans that are too tight and too limiting in material and color.

Dresses get you noticed because wearing a dress is the easiest way to look  polished and put together.

Dresses can be styled in many different ways to create different looks.  Belt it or unbelt it for that more fitted or unfitted look. Wear it over pants like capri leggings or even wide leg pants, especially if the dress is too short and you want to make it into a tunic top. Wear something over the dress like a crop top or crop sweater so that you now have made the dress a skirt. Play with a layering piece by adding jean jackets, shrugs or kimonos, any of which can “dress” you up or down in your dress. 

Dresses are magical.  The second you put one on, you feel more feminine, more fashion forward and, hence, more confident which should make you smile when you look in the mirror. No one in Levi jeans can feel that! There’s no doubt, compliments will come your way all day long.

          

I already have my eye on one that tempts me to overcome my hesitation. How about you? Come take a look at our selection and see if there is one calling your name.