Archive for May, 2021

Jenny shows us how to wear this wide-leg pant from Karen Kane!

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Quote of the week:

Whew! Big sigh of relief.

After a day or so of downsizing my spring and summer clothes, I now have three bags full of donations, along with several ideas for how to stow away some of the autumn and winter clothes.

There are boxes made for under the bed storage and I do have one long rod available for hanging in my closet at the top of the stairs. So…I’m determined to keep only what can be kept in those two places.

But… why the relief I wonder after three bags full and new places to store the off season clothes.

Well… I’m thinking that getting dressed each morning will be faster, easier and less stressful because I now only own spring/summer clothes that I love, feel good in and look good in.

Guess I didn’t even realize that my closet (wardrobe) was causing some stress in that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and just plain tired when I walked into it. Some of those items in there were even making me feel bad about myself and my body and guilty that I hadn’t been able to fit into them for a long time. It was definitely time to declutter and downsize.

Now I will wear and love the clothes in my closet! No more flipping past clothes I don’t like when I’m looking for my favorites. Instead, my clutter is gone and I’ve only kept the clothes I love!

I’m even hoping that I will save money because I’ll know exactly what I have, what I like wearing and what works for me.. This should mean that I’ll stop buying clothes that I don’t need or don’t work for me.

Whoa! Slow down Julie. Did I just write that last sentence? The don’t work for me part …. well, I’m reasonably good at that already but the don’t need part.… I’m the one who constantly tells customers to park that need word at the door when they enter. What fun is having a wardrobe based only on need?

Now that last sentence is pretty good. I’m going to have to remember it when the next customer says “I really don’t need anything.” My reply shall be. . .

    "What fun is having a wardrobe based only on need?"

Time to put back the "keepers."

Beauty tips for the closet:

Closets come in many shapes and sizes and there are umpteen organizational closet tricks and closet paraphernalia to help in finding solutions for each shape and size. I won't get into detail when you can see for yourself at any website from Ikea to Storables.

What I'd like to offer are three basic tenants that can help organize any closet of any shape and size. 

  • First up is the hanger. Years ago I invested in bunches of slimline velvet hangers, all in one color. Not only do they look pleasant but they give more room to every rod in my closet and they prevent slippage of garments to the floor. However, there are alternatives such as wooden and now plastic non-slip hangers. Whichever you like, investing in a good hanger and using the same hanger throughout the closet is well worth it
  • As much as possible, keep like items together in the closet. I know right where to look for all my pants, skirts, dresses and tops (I even separate out the kinds of tops like tees, turtlenecks, sleeveless layering pieces). This saves me lots of time and effort in finding an exact piece but it also helps when I want to put together a layered outfit.

  • And… lastly, color your closet. By that I mean within each group of clothes (be it tops or pants) hang them from the lightest of colors to the darkest of colors. As I re-hung all my spring collared blouses I started at one end of the rod with white and went to pink, yellow, orange, green, blue and finally black. Wow! I actually have one collared blouse in all those colors. Big surprise! Not only is this aesthetically pleasing (almost as much as a consistent hanger) but it too helps me find just what I’m looking for or finding the right color to go with something that I’m trying to match.

I hope my two-parter here on closets has been of some help when it comes to both downsizing the wardrobe and to putting back and re-organizing all the items you decided to keep.

Just remember… this doesn’t have to be a day long or two day long project. Pick one season’s clothes or one particular kind of item such as pants or tops and start there. The rest will follow when you see the happy result.

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Sound Styles welcomes a new line of linen from at Land Downunder!

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Quote of the week:

As the seasons change, so goes my closet!  

“Just where does it go?”  you might wonder.

When summer turns to fall and winter to spring, I actually take pleasure in the ritual swap out of one season’s clothes for another.  I find it transformative. Not only is the closet more aesthetically pleasing once the switch has been made but I find, happily, that what was put away from the last season is always like greeting old friends. Not to mention that I often will purchase something on a “super” mark down from last summer’s season. One that I purposefully didn’t wear and stored away… only to be happily surprised when I haul it out. 


“Why hello,” said I when bumping into this cute denim maxi dress.

“I remember you from a couple years back. You were on the Sound Styles sales rack and had been languishing there for a while.”

Rescue time and I just knew there would be more than one way to wear it.

I’m thinking duster rather than dress.

Worn over a printed sleeveless blouse with a pair of chambray jeans and . . .

Voila!

There’s always those “iffy” stinkers that don’t look so appealing any longer. “What was I thinking?” comes to mind. While I might have known it at the time but being rather lazy about it, I put them away in storage anyway only to reinforce my initial assessment when they are brought out the next season.

Pajama drawer maybe for these plaid drawstring pants?

Alas! Pulling out spring/summer clothes from under the bed and from under the stairwell where I have to crawl at least five feet to reach that rod of clothes and from the deepest recesses of my long coat closet at the top of the stairs where I have to pull out everything in order to retrieve what is in the ‘way back’ means that my favorite fall sweaters and jackets and tunic tops go back into hiding for the coming spring and summer months. But where? I’m determined to not ‘go there’ (my poor knees can’t take it any longer) in those deep recesses of my domain ever again which means downsizing my wardrobe.

The dreaded downsizing! I’ve done it before when moving from family home to current smaller residence. Had to even downsize the wardrobe back then as the family home had lots of extra closet space where I could tuck away this and that “just in case” I might want to wear it again. Inventory has crept up on me again over the years of living in a smaller space so I just gotta “face the music and” diminish the wardrobe. Switching out the seasonal closet is the perfect time to confront this challenge and decide what needs to go.

So as not to be too overwhelmed, I’m going to tackle and downsize the coming spring/summer wardrobe that I am hauling out of all those hidden small spaces. I’ll leave the fall/winter clothes to the next seasonal change so as not to be completely consumed by closet madness.

While going thru this downsizing process, I will keep in mind that voices with ‘closet expertise’ have estimated that most of us wear about 20% of what’s in our closet about 80% of the time. Think about that! If true and I suspect that it is, there is a lot of downsizing to do in most everyone’s closet.

Here are some tips to help us decide what goes:

  • To make my chore a bit easier, I’m going to lump similar items together in piles. Tops in one stack, jeans in another, shoes in another and summer accessories in yet another…. you get the idea!
  • I’m going to look for duplicates of said items. Do I have too many t-shirts or too many jeans or too many look alike shoes etc?
  • I’m going to pay attention to the wear of a garment. Is it looking “sad?” Is it in need of repair or alterations or even a new button here and there? Am I willing to devote the time and money to said repairs? Is it stained and in need of washing or dry-cleaning?
  • Which ones do I wear the most and love and look good in? And. . . when was the last time I wore it? Or even better. . how many times have I put this on to wear that day and then take it off after just minutes? Tell-tale sign that it needs to go.
  • As I go through my separated piles, I’m going to make three more stacks: definitely keepers, definitely get rid of and those “maybes.” I hope to be reasonably quick in these decisions and even a bit ruthless.
  • I’ll be taking a close look at my definitely keep and my definitely get rid of piles. I’ll be looking for trends or commonalities in terms of style, color, fit. This will help me get a clearer picture of my personal preferences which will help me tackle the maybe pile.
  • Would I buy this item again? Would I pay full price for it? Does it fit into my current lifestyle?
  • If, after answering all those questions, I’m still undecided about some of my maybes then I might consider putting my maybe box away and out of sight (oh dear! Under the stairwell comes to mind) and seeing if I miss any of those items in the next few summer months.

Okay! I’m tiring even myself so I’m guessing that you too are getting a bit worn out just following me here. I’m thinking that this post is turning into a two-parter. Once I’ve completed the downsizing of said spring/summer clothes, I intend to do a bit of re-organizing so as to have easier access to everything in my “definitely keep” wardrobe. There are lots of benefits to down-sizing and I’d like to point out a few.

Next week awaits!

See you then and maybe you will have eyed your closet with new perspective and donated a few things and be ready for some tips on organization.

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Owner Jenny shows the new linen collection from Kleen Clothing!

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    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!

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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.

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