Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Quote of the Week:

Okay. . . so  maybe it took til almost three o’clock this afternoon, but this day’s sky did become quite a glorious one with the colors of yellow and orange enhancing the beauty of its milky blue.  I think Van Gogh meant that blue becomes its most vibrant when it is enhanced by its complements (opposites on the color wheel) yellow and orange. That seems to be especially true at sunrise and sunset. 

The “fashion” colors of this year are turning toward a palette fit for a painter.

From lemon yellow to tangerine orange to bubblegum pink, these deliciously bright pops of color bring a feeling of joy and happiness. And that was purposely planned by fashion designers, as they wanted to exude a sense of optimism and positive spirit into their 2021 seasonal runways. 

I love color so choosing a favorite is impossible but orange is right up there in my color wheel of favorites. For goodness sake…. I have an orange sofa in my living room. Not at all what I was thinking when I walked into the showroom of the furniture store… “I want an orange sofa” was not on my agenda. But, there it was right in front of me and I was stopped in my tracks by its happy energy, its warmth, and its evocative feelings of Autumn. 

Since the rest of the room is relatively neutral, I felt safe in adding a pop of color with this sofa. It worked out great and I and my kitty, Gracie, love that sofa. I had to find an orange throw blanket to drape over the top so Gracie could curl up and sleep without leaving too much “debris” behind. Doesn’t hurt that Gracie is an orange calico so she fits right in. Designer kitty!

And then there is this! A spring birthday bouquet of exquisite beauty with one bright orange parrot tulip as its centerpiece.

Oops! I digress! But… you know how one picture is worth a thousand words and, in this case, make it two pictures. It’s definitely impossible to write an essay on such a vibrant color, or any color, without visuals. So. . . perhaps we can learn a lesson or two from my living room decor, minus Gracie, of course. And from a birthday bouquet of definite distinction.

Yes! By all means, orange is a bold, attention-getting color not to be worn by just everyone. If you can, DO! But, if you can’t, then go for just a touch of orange in an accessory that pops the more neutral outfit and, by all means, don’t be afraid to wear orange, if only just a touch. And no. . . orange is not the new black, at least fashionably speaking. But it is out there in force and represented by nearly all the fashion vendors so, if you need to brighten your day, bring some orange into your life. It evokes happy and energetic feelings that just lift you up and help you find and embrace life’s vitality.

WOW! Just to showcase my little essay on orange: here is one of Shelly’s “Van Gogh” moments in her photo of an Edmonds skyline on an Autumn’s evening sunset. Spectacular and makes me happy to be in our small corner of the world.

Read Full Post »

Dolce Far Niente

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Read Full Post »

Quote of the Week:

Be still my heart! Give me a moment please to wax poetic about the simple, yet complex, beauty of that figure of speech comparing two unlike things . . . Reed’s simile “Like a leaf of lavender in a store of linen, so does memory make life sweet.” Both a leaf of lavender and memory sweeten life. One with a tangible and immediate sensory perception. The other in an emotional reckoning with the passing of time after the pain of heartache. Would that my writing could conjure up a simile of such unexpected and pleasant surprise. I feel a challenge coming on. Am I up to the task? Stay tuned!!

Let’s see. Where was I? Ah yes! Thank You! I am back to reality and why I even found that quote to begin this post. My intention here is to offer up a few pointers about the qualities, benefits, and wearability of linen.

Don’t stop reading now please!

Give me a chance to plead linen’s case. I do know that many of you love linen and wear it with ease and beauty. However, there are many, like myself, who have had a love/hate relationship with linen over the years. Love it in the store and on the hanger but not so much on our bodies. . . for all the obvious “wrinkly” reasons. Then there are those who just plain dislike it and won’t go near it. Perhaps it is to the two latter categories that I write here and did some research in hopes of us all becoming more accepting of what is actually a very remarkable fiber.

Turns out that once upon a time, linen clothing was worn only by the upper eschelon of society. . . monarchs, knights and priests. Us commoners were denied the luxury of linen until the propagation of flax plants became widespread sometime during the 16th century and led to everything linen from bedding to kitchen towels to clothing. There are even those who claim that linen has healing powers and wouldn’t wear any other fabric, especially in hot and humid weather.

So… just what is it about linen that makes it so sought after and superior to other fibers? I learned some interesting details while searching for an answer to that question.

Ready! Set! Go! Here comes the infamous list!

  • DURABLE: If the strength of the fiber directly contributes to the strength of the fabric that a garment is made of, then linen has optimum longevity. Buy a linen top or dress or pair of pants and you can count on it to stick around for decades ’cause linen is considered the strongest of natural fibers… much more so than cotton.
  • SUSTAINABLE: Linen ranks high in the category of environmentally friendly and ethically sourced clothing. Flax plants are resilient, can grow in poor soil and require very little water or fertilizer. Being a natural fiber also makes it biodegradable and recyclable. Buying and wearing linen means you won’t be adding to the growing pile of textile waste all over the world. With all that said, you might be wondering why linen is considered a luxurious fiber and thus more costly. While easy to grow, the process of getting the flax plant ready for spinning is a lengthy one requiring several months of softening before it is ready to process as fabric.
  • SUITABLE: What do I mean by suitable? Here’s something new that surprised me. Hard to believe but one of linen’s more magical properties is that it can keep you both cool and warm. Because it is breathable, moisture wicking and lightweight, linen is the obvious perfect summer fiber. But think Spring and Autumn as well because flax/linen is a natural insulator and capable of releasing excess humidity. You won’t get sweaty in linen clothes as you can in cotton or wool because linen retains the heat from your body and releases the excess making you feel nice and cozy during cooler transition months.
  • EASY-CARE: While considered a luxury fabric, linen doesn’t need special or expensive care. Machine wash in cold water just don’t use bleach or detergents with whiteners in them as they tend to weaken the fiber. You can tumble dry your linen or hang them to dry naturally. As for ironing, much of linen’s charm is in those wrinkles so ironing is not necessary. A smoothing out by hand can accomplish much in the way of softening the look. Now, whether you succumb to its charm or not is a personal choice.

I hope that I’ve given you some new thoughts to ponder and consider when looking for or deciding whether to choose a new linen garment. Right now Sound Styles has a great selection to choose from so come see us before the weather heats back up again.

Remember to wear your linen in seasons other than just Summer.

Read Full Post »

Quote of the week:

Seems like we’ve needed a lot of armor during the past sixteen months. While fashion is not, of course, a full suit of armor. . . I do believe it might just be an accessory to the full panoply that helps us hold up our resolve to overcome the challenges presented by our daily lives.

Does that sound trite? How can what you wear on any certain day help you survive that day?

Okay. . . so survive might be just a bit melodramatic. 

Simply said. . . I’m a great believer, from personal experience, that what you wear, be it clothes or make-up, directly influences your thoughts, behaviors and self-esteem. It also impacts how others perceive your personality and actions.

Does that make sense? Certainly, in all the days of our lives, there are going to be those where we have no choice in the matter and wardrobe and make-up don’t win.

However, if at all possible, I make every attempt in the morning to go through a routine that includes picking out something nice to wear and applying at least a bit of blush and eye-make up even if I’m staying home that day to nurse an “owie.” I don’t want to look in the mirror, by accident or on purpose, and feel worse because of the reflection staring back at me.

These last few days of heat have challenged my resolve. What a relief tonight to feel a cooler, natural breeze wafting through my windows. Nature beats the electric fan any day of the week. And, in all honesty, this post was started last week and meant to be finished and polished by Tuesday morn (of last week).

Best laid plans as they say. While sitting in front of my computer with 100 degrees bearing down on me, my “fried brain” just couldn’t deal with it so. . . Alas! No post last week and I’ve kind of forgotten where I was even headed except that I do like the beginning so I will re-group here and offer up some advice.

For me, some days just go right and I feel good in what I chose to wear. Other days, however, find me putting on and taking off in rapid succession ’cause just nothing “feels” right. I did a bit of research on this dressing dilemma that I’m supposing presents itself to most of us. Based on my research, let me offer up a few tips to help us all dress with confidence and feel great in what we wear.

  • APPEARANCE: On those days when I’m taking on and taking off, it’s usually because I’m over analyzing my so-called “body flaws.” This top doesn’t camouflage the tummy area enough or cover the arm where it needs covering the most. That sort of “talk” goes on in my head. But if I really think about it, it’s not my clothes that are giving me grief, it’s my attitude towards my body. Acceptance of who we are on any given day can go a long way towards feeling good and confident in what we wear.
  • KNOW YOUR PERSONA: I used to get frustrated when shopping with a friend who would say “that looks just like you” as I reached for something off the rack to try on. “Am I that predictable?” I’d think to myself. Now I actually think that’s a good thing because it means I have a strong sense of what I like and want to wear. These days when I answer the question “does that look like me?” I’m glad to answer “yes!.” I’d much rather look like myself than a victim of trends. Let’s face it, there are lots of styles out there that won’t be right for me so knowing what suits my personality contributes to feeling confident because my clothes become a good reflection of who I am.
  • LET’S HAVE FUN: Sometimes when I’m struggling with what to wear I find myself muttering “Lighten up, Julie. Getting dressed in the morning isn’t brain surgery.” If I stop the over analyzing, and give myself permission to just have some fun with what I put on, my options open up to new ideas and possibilities. A lighter, more playful, attitude goes a long way towards feeling and looking great in what you wear. Your ability to discover new looks and try out fresh ideas should be fun. And, who doesn’t like having fun?
  • OOPS! You know the old adage “Learn from your mistakes.” Well, that goes for clothes as well. We’ve all had them. Days where you feel awful in what you are wearing. Back in the good old carefree days of college, I took a fashion design class where we had to make our own pattern and sew a garment from the pattern. I’ve always had the propensity to buy clothes for which I have no lifestyle that would possibly give me an opportunity to wear that garment. That’s a mistake it’s taken me some time to learn from. It started in that class when I designed a slightly formal dress of white lace that should have been worn to a prom. After modeling it in the class fashion show, the dress never got out of the closet again. It was way too formal for me and the lace was scratchy and itchy and stiff. The point being that learning from fashion mistakes is a gift you give to yourself as those mistakes teach us what we feel and look good in.

When you feel confident and happy with what you are wearing, others see you that way too. So, accept your body, know what suits your personality, have a little fun with fashion and remember to learn from those times when mistake were made.

.

Read Full Post »

Quote of the Week:

So. . . picture this! While I’m getting the store presentable for opening yesterday, pushing the vacuum cleaner from front to back and windexing a glass shelf or two, my eyes kept wandering to a certain rack where temptation calls my name.

Mind you…. I’m asking myself all the same questions I hear from you when shopping in the store. Do I really need that? Don’t I already have enough of that color combination in my wardrobe? Didn’t I just buy a black and white top from that same label? Didn’t I just promise myself that I wouldn’t buy another black top or pant? What would I wear this top with?

Ooo… I really do love the tunic style of that piece and it’s quite different from the crop top I bought last month. I’ve seen it on customers and it is so flattering. I’ve been “thinking”about it for days now and I can still hear Mary egging me on with her encouraging words, “you know you want it. . . so just buy it!”

You guessed it!

I’m a goner!!! The Masai black and white tunic top is in my “shopping cart.”

Two colors in your closet today, technically, aren’t colors. But these two colorless colors offer us limitless choices for both casual and dressy occasions. It’s hard to top a more stylish outfit than one that’s all black and white. There might be those who say you need color to be exciting. However, the stellar contrast between black and white is sure to capture anyone’s attention and be appropriate for any occasion. Coco Chanel called their independent beauty “absolute.” And their combination “is the perfect harmony.”

When in doubt about what to wear, a first “go to” is always black and white which is easy enough for casual wear, stylish enough for the office and elegant enough for special occasions. Black and white is classic, always on trend and SLIMMING. . . words we all love to hear.

And. . .

You probably already have the elements of black and white in your closet so you won’t need to spend a lot to achieve that “fashionista” look when you step out your front door.

The obvious, easiest way to achieve “the look” is to invest in pieces that already incorporate the black and white in their print, stripes or dots. Voila! You’ve got the look down pat. Just put the printed top or bottom with a contrasting solid. A simple white shirt with a black pant and an accessory or two of black and white also achieves the look.

So… there aren’t too many tips that I could offer here because putting black and white together is relatively simple. Just don’t make the mistake of looking like the waiter at your upcoming dinner date by stopping at just a white shirt and black pants. Add a few more “layers” of interest to take the outfit from sterile to stylish.

For avoiding that mistake, I will show you the top that I bought and make a few suggestions as to how to style a black and white outfit.

Accessory options are endless with black and white which makes it so fun to work with. While certain accessories like scarves and jewelry are obvious, never discount the power of sunglasses, shoes and handbags as accessories. They highlight and compliment an outfit in an instant.

Next, bring in texture combining. Patent sandals, pebble textured clutch, shiny jet black beaded necklace and a soft silky scarf can all add textured interest to the black and white print of my top. These same principles would also apply to a basic white shirt and black pants by bringing in extra layers of style.

Last but certainly not least. . . add a splash of color, as I did with the red in the scarf and, most important, the shoes. Color options are endless as you make black and white the canvas for whatever colors you love.

Read Full Post »

Quote of the week:

Well drat! Wouldn’t you know! 

I just bought a brown sweater.

I wonder if the poet is equating old age with brown sweaters or, coincidentally, was it a brown sweater he put on that morning when he was feeling the aches and pains of being older. Even though an English major, I’m not one to over analyze so I’ll go with the latter and not get all caught up in symbolism. But he did give me momentary pause to question my new purchase.

FYI: The color itself is making a huge comeback for all seasons, including this spring and summer. As for me, I couldn’t be more pleased. Brown has been hiding out for far too long. And, as it is for every color, brown does come with its own symbolic associations. Brown is a natural color linked to the earth and equates to being wholesome, warm and honest. So there you have it!

But no. . . this post is not about the color of my new sweater.

It’s about the SWEATER! A cardigan sweater to be specific!

I set out in writing this post with the idea of showing how accessories can transform an outfit in an instant. In doing a bit of research, much to my surprise, a cardigan sweater was often listed as an accessory that can do exactly that. . . transform an outfit. Surprised because I’d never really thought of a sweater as an accessory.

A cardigan is a type of knitted sweater that was traditionally made of wool and designed with an open front. This popular garment wasn’t worn until around the mid-1800s so it has a short history. It’s named after James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who was a British Army Major General during the Crimean War and led the charge of the light brigade. Supposedly, he invented the cardigan after noticing that the tails of his long coat had been accidentally burnt off while standing too close to the fireplace. Wow! Now that was one lucky Earl of Cardigan to survive both the war and the fireplace.

Pardon the history lesson. Hope you’re still with me and I haven’t put you to sleep. What can I say? I’m a compulsive looker-upper of minutiae.

While good at keeping away the chill factor and hiding our arms from those cropped and sleeveless tops, the humble cardigan sweater offers much more versatility to our wardrobe. They add elements of color, texture and layering to anything from a casual or even “dressy” dress to a t-shirt or collared blouse to a pencil skirt, high waisted pants or jeans. They are both ageless and timeless.  

From summer to winter, a cardigan can “crown” your outfit, no matter where you’re going or how old you are. Necklaces aren’t the only accessory to make a statement. Think of a cardigan as a “statement piece” in your wardrobe and give it the prominence it deserves.

As one of the most versatile fashion layers, there are so many different styles of cardigans and so many ways you can wear them that trying to define and illustrate all of them would be overwhelming so I put together a visual of a few possibilities.

Since one picture is worth a thousand words, I should probably quit while I’m ahead, as you probably “get the picture.”

Be they of short, long or even no sleeves as in sweater vest. . . be they cropped, jacket or coat length. . . be they asymmetrical or even in hem. . . be they hooded, shawl collared or no collar whatsoever. . . be they buttoned, belted, zipped or just plain open. . . be they striped, flowered, polka-dotted or solid. . . be they slouchy or tailored, think of a cardigan as any season’s investment piece and consider having several in your wardrobe.

the tale of “my new brown sweater”

My tale ends here with this pic (just in case you were curious). Yet one more boyfriend, my obsession of late. My new Karen Kane tie-front top and a pair of black leggings with those ankle boots make me eager for Fall dressing (no affront to Summer). While I would never wear a cropped top with a pair of leggings, the length of a boyfriend cardi covers all the parts I want covered and gives me permission to put the two together.

However, rest assured. . . I will be careful to keep my “tails” away from a fireplace.

THE END

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

           
    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!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »