Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

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. 


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!

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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!

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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. 

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Quote for the week:

    “Clothes aren’t going to change the world. The women who wear them will.”
                                                             ~ Anne Klein

How are you today? Are you up for a bit of a challenge?  Have you got something hanging in your closet that has rarely or even never been worn? Are you up to taking a bit of time to put an outfit together with that item and getting it out of hiding and into the light of day?

I don’t know about you but I often find myself attracted to an item of apparel that, once bought and brought home, ends up permanently hanging in the closet for whatever reason.

As I was contemplating the seasonal switch of one closet to another, I bumped into one of those items . . . giving me renewed motivation to find at least one or two ways to style it and get it out of my closet and into the fresh air, with me in it, of course 

For me this item was a silk kimono in a batik pattern of rich blues and rusts. It immediately “spoke to me” when it arrived at Sound Styles a couple of years ago. There was no doubt that I had to have it. . . just because it was so beautiful and I wanted it to be mine.

Anyone else relate to my impulsive moment?

While I know all too well that kimonos have made a huge fashion statement in recent years, that doesn’t  mean one knows how to comfortably incorporate this lovely trend into one’s own wardrobe. I was a bit stymied so I asume that I subconsciously decided to leave it to my own intuition. . . which is why it still hangs in the closet.

First let me explain that the pictured garments in this post are generic and not my real styled kimono. I’ve recently discovered a fun website where one can practice putting together items and accessories and “play” to find a desired effect. At least my “dress rehearsal” gave me some new ideas about what to do with my own patterned kimono.

I got brave and put it together with a striped blouse which is certainly allowed and doable as long as there is a central element that ties them together… most often this would be color and proportion of one print to the other like the smaller floral pattern on the kimono with the broader stripes of the blouse.  I love long chunky necklaces so that was a “no brainer.” And, yes I would wear the bow-tied blouse and the necklace together but that’s just me. The embroidered black crop jeans are fun, keep it casual, ground the whole outfit with the dark color and the floral embroidery ties in with the floral pattern on the kimono.  Lastly, I love my animal print sneakers and so…. what the heck! I thought they were the pleasing final touch. 


And they also work because of my own “needy” compulsion to mix and match in fun new ways.

Now it’s your turn. Perhaps you want to play in your own closet or perhaps you might be interested in the website of note called Shoplook. However, if time doesn’t allow or you aren’t so inclined, don’t let the garment continue to hide out in your closet. Bring it into Sound Styles and we would love to help in finding ways for you to “style” a piece that challenges you.

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Quote of the week:

“Life is not
about waiting
for the storm
to pass,
it’s about learning
to dance in the rain.”

~ unknown


I sit here tonight listening to raindrops, as they fall upon my skylights in a soothing, comforting sort of way and I just want to remind you that April showers really do bring May flowers so it “isn’t raining rain you know, it’s raining violets.”

Among this week’s trivia:

It’s a well known fact that romance blooms when being kissed in the rain; more great books are read when curled up in that over-sized wing back chair while rain tap dances on the window; sipping a latté and nibbling a cannoli in a drizzle can lead to an Italian vacation; a brisk walk in the rain burns those latté and cannoli calories faster than if it weren’t raining (scientific fact) and, lastly, if you walk and wait out the showers long enough, you’ll be in petrichor heaven which is what scientists call that amazing earthy garden scent that comes after a rainfall.

And, no worries! There won’t be a vocabulary quiz later on!

My advice for the week:

If you’re still not convinced of rain’s compelling charm, put on a Joules raincoat and experience one of life’s most interesting dilemmas — a raincoat so cute and flattering that you’ll want to wear it when it’s not raining. . . be it a red animal print, navy dog lover or black with foil bees, April showers will reign supreme until those flowers appear in May.

And last. . . but certainly not least:

How About You?

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Quote of the week:

Ah! “She Walks in Beauty” . . . one of Byron’s most famous lyric poems. It is said to have been inspired by an event in his life. On 11 June 1814 Byron attended a party in London. Among the guests was Mrs. Anne Beatrix Wilmot, wife of his first cousin, Sir Robert Wilmot. Byron was struck by her unusual beauty and the next morning the poem was written.

If adorned in the above Masai top, new into Sound Styles, one would definitely walk in “romantic” floral and softly draped beauty. Appropriately styled for the Easter Parade, Shelly has it featured this week in our Easter window.

I’m feeling romance in the air today. Can you tell?
Maybe it has something to do with paging my way through the latest copy of Victoria Magazine which, I’m convinced, is designed to nourish the feminine soul. Pages that make you want to step into them, full of vintage clothes, castles, cottages, cobblestone streets, gardens of tulips and lilacs and everything sweet. I haven’t been able to relinquish one issue of Victoria since I subscribed some ten years ago. They are lush with beauty and romance making each issue a cherished treasure.
While we all have a predominant fashion persona, I’ve never considered mine to be the Romantic one. However, that doesn’t mean a little of one persona can’t pay a visit to the more predominant one every now and then. Today is my day to wear a flowy, swiss dot, chiffon ruffled cardigan over my collared blouse and sip tea from my mother’s favorite English tea cup, one she bought while we were having a mother-daughter get-away visiting another Victoria. . . way up north in British Columbia.

“One sip of tea will bathe the drooping spirits in delight,
beyond the bliss of dreams.”
~ Milton

The romantic fashion persona embraces softness, femininity, lush textures, and a hint of vintage-inspired pieces. Beautiful, often delicate, fabric in flattering colors and prints (often floral) are important to the romantic. She is more drawn to dresses and skirts rather than anything too tailored. Accessories are usually a must and are often embellished with a bit of sparkle.

“Fashion expresses my Romantic state of mind.” ~ Laura Brunereau

And, I can only imagine that Laura’s romantic state of mind would be easily expressed in this fabulously feminine bold floral Tribal top with fluttery bell sleeves and tie-front. Why she might even get transported to a dreamy, more Romantic time. Who knows? Perhaps you would like to join her?

Not my intention here to go into deep detail about all the fashion personas. The point being that it’s OK to mix and match your image, different occasions demand different looks and multiple “persona” disorder need not apply here. You don’t need to feel boxed into one fashion persona when you’re drawn to several as you may, in fact, be a combination. With a little thought and creativity, you can have it all. Not only is it okay to mix and match, but it’s downright fun to bring an element of one persona into the image of another. After all, pearls and jeans with a touch of lace is a knockout!

“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.”
~ Diane Von Furstenberg

And, just between you and me, should you “find” yourself curious and wanting to learn more of your own fashion persona. . . We can all help but Jenny has fine tuned this art, as she is really good at discovering just who you are, fashionably speaking that is. Part intuition, part keen perception and part fashion expertise all make for an expert who almost knows your fashion persona when you walk through our Sound Styles door. Come visit us one day soon with the goal in mind of discovering just a little more about your style. It’ll be fun.

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Quote of the week: “I say, dress for yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance. Wear something today that says. . . Here I am” ~ Iris Apfel

“I’m too old to wear that!” is a comment we often hear from customers as they shop the store. Think about that. Have you ever seen a clothes tag that says “must wear by” (a certain age). I hope not or I’m in big trouble.

Granted, common sense applies here as, of course, there are certain trends that belong to the young. However, all too often we see women put themselves in that “I’m too old” category and it keeps them from considering wearing a cute and possibly flattering new piece of apparel. Frustrating to us because we don’t see them in the same mirror as they see themselves. We know that they would look fabulous in the exact top they are rejecting because of age.

In my mind’s eye there are two ages. Perceived age is how you feel about yourself and what you wear and how you meet and greet your world each and every day. Okay… someone 65 (true age) who acts like they are 25 is a bit silly. But… 65 and aiming for 50 is a total other story.

It’s your perceived age that counts when it comes to dressing for the day and not letting yourself be deterred by preconceived “rules” of your true age.

Most fashion style and even current trends can be worn by many ages.

Let’s focus in on one.

Women’s fashion has seen a huge resurgence of the graphic tee in the past few years. It would be easy to see how the graphic tee might fall into that youthful even juvenile category and one might consider one’s self too old to wear a graphic tee. Graphic tees are quite versatile and can be worn in more ways than you might think.

How often do we say to our customers… “it can be dressed up or down”? I, for one, plead guilty.

Well… here I am to say it again.

Self expression abounds in a graphic tee. Just pick one that is true and meaningful to you or that just captures your eye. The dressed down part is obvious… jeans and sneakers or flip flops. The dressed up part is where the fun begins.

But let’s start with the tee itself. Once you’ve chosen the appropriate graphics for you, check out the fit. Your graphic tee should be slightly contoured to your body, not too long or too wide. Consider tucking it in for a slimmer waistline. I know… that challenges my sensibilities as well. So, if you don’t want to tuck it in, consider partially tucking it in or tying a knot in the front or off to the side just to give some form to the tee. Either tucking or tying adds instant sophistication to an otherwise everyday tee shirt.

Now we’re ready to style your graphic tee. For that I need some. . . ‘graphics!’

As with fashion in general, layering is the word of the day! Let’s start with adding structure to the tee by adding an outer piece. This can be anything from jean jackets to moto jackets to blazers to boyfriend cardigans and even kimonos. What’s great about the outer piece is that the graphic tee becomes part of the whole outfit and not the main attraction.

What about the bottoms you may ask? So… while jeans are the obvious go to bottom for tees in general, let’s think outside the box. Any pair of pants, from tailored suit trousers to wide leg pants to ankles and crops will work with the tee. Even consider a bolder color that brings out a color in the tee or combine it with stripes or a pattern like animal print. And, if you’re feeling on the more feminine side that day, put the graphic tee with a flowy skirt. While these suggestions may seem like oxymorons, that’s what makes the outfit more flirtatious, interesting and fun.

And for the third layer… let’s think accessories. Believe it or not, add a scarf with complementary colors and tie it so that it doesn’t cover up the graphics on the tee. Bold earrings and even multi strand pendant necklaces will work with the tee. And, of course, the shoes. Beef up the entire outfit by dressing up the shoes. Consider dressy sandals for summer or leather penny loafers for winter. Even a t-shirt and jeans can get dressed up with your choice of shoes. Or, and this is also fun, once the graphic tee shirt has been “dressed up” then keep the shoes a comfy pair of white sneakers and that works too.

Okay class! Your assignment should you choose to accept it: If you’ve already got a graphic tee, see it with renewed creativity and go to your closet and play. If you don’t already have a graphic tee, check out the selection at Sound Styles and consider adding one to your wardrobe with maybe a jacket or cardigan or accessory for layering.

You know that old saying…”do as I say not as I do?” I must admit that while I do have a couple graphic tees in my wardrobe, they have been relegated to my pajama drawer. Time for me to step up to the plate and take my own advice here. I shall “style” a graphic tee and show it off soon. What do you say. . .let’s do lunch?

I must give special thanks to Neil Reid, our blog guru, for all his help on the “graphic” picture illustrating the text.

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Quote for the week: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” ~ coco chanel
During this past year, there have been many restless, sleepless nights where I have found myself reclined on the sofa, watching reruns of ‘The Golden Girls’ and remembering when.

Can anyone relate?

I loved everything about that show but especially the fashion and most especially how they dressed Bea Arthur for her part as Dorothy. To say that those ladies represented the power of fashion in the 80’s is an understatement. And the symbol of that power was the mighty return from the 30’s and 40’s of the shoulder pad. Women marched into the office and onto movie and TV sets with renewed determination to “power dress” in order to compete with the shoulder pads in the suits of men, both literally and figuratively speaking.

Big Sigh!

Call it a Dorothy fixation if you must… but I have found it difficult to get out of the eighties long enough to let go of my shoulder pads.

“We gotta get Julie out of those shoulder pads!” so said one of my co-workers to another of my co-workers. Just who is who remains to be seen but said comment did fall back on to my ears through the grapevine and I had to chuckle.

I remember watching Oprah one weekday afternoon back in the 80’s when she revealed her love for a drawer filled with shoulder pads and how she couldn’t imagine her wardrobe without them. “God Bless shoulder pads” she exclaimed, as the designers on the show that day were dazzling us with ‘before and after’ shoulder pads.

Go Oprah! I felt the same after hearing a rather famous fashion designer pronounce that shoulder pads made a woman lose ten pounds and look inches taller. Hence, it’s been difficult to give up on the shoulder pad with those words ringing in my ears, even though that reluctance has made me somewhat of a relic. Actually… more than somewhat.

Even Oprah eventually emptied her drawer.

My interest in having some new clothes in my closet is perking up and it feels optimistically good to anticipate once again finding joy in my closet. I love that fashion is necessary and I love that it is a daily decision to be expressive and even artistic in what we decide. I’m looking forward to feeling more pulled together with an outfit from Sound Styles that’s been waiting in my closet for over a year now to once again go out in public.

But I also got curious about what’s new this year and started poking around.

Well. . . guess what? They’re popping up here and there again.

I know! I know! We’ve been hearing for several years now that the shoulder pad is going to make a comeback. Maybe this year will be the one, as I have seen them featured on several TV fashion segments and in fashion ads as well.

During the past ‘umpteen’ years or so, I have challenged the kind patience of my co-workers, as they have stifled their objections and amusement at my stubborn refusal to remove the shoulder pads from my wardrobe.

They’ll be happy to know that this past year has solved that. Who cares about shoulder pads when we aren’t going places like we used to? Who cares whether I look taller or ten pounds lighter these days when most of what I find myself doing is embracing comfort food?

Guess I’m the one that’s supposed to care and maybe I will again, if the shoulder pad truly does make a comeback. Wouldn’t you know it! Just when I’ve kicked the addiction, here comes a blazer and even a tee shirt with sewn in shoulder pads.

However, there’s a shoulder pad and then there’s a shoulder pad. While great in the 80’s, enormous is a bit too strong an adjective to apply to a shoulder pad these days.
There’s a saying that applies here: moderation in all things. A gentle added shape at the shoulders is a good thing. It gives you definition and the appearance of standing up straight, as our mothers used to admonish.

Ah Dear Bea! I guess it’s you and me. . . against the world!

So . . . How about you? Does anyone look forward to the return of shoulder pads?

Eager to hear your thoughts! Let’s talk!

And… by the way, thank you for ‘being a friend!’

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Tidings of Comfort & Joy

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boots raven earrings begin as thin sheets of wood from quick growing birch trees.   The wood is treated as a canvas, each one painted with a rainbow of acrylics.   They are then hand cut into a myriad of shapes and layered.   In addition to acrylics, heat is used on some pieces to burn the wood or alter the paint.   Once the wood pieces are finished, they are drilled and sealed in a UV resistant clear acrylic coat.

Preconceived design rarely exists in this method.   The earrings are painted and built from the heart and in the moment, creating one of a kind pieces.   After the paint phase, the wood pieces are paired with beads and metals.   Most of the metal is aged in-house and sealed with an acrylic.   These lightweight earrings are finished with niobium ear wires which are hypo-allergenic and perfect for those with metal allergies.

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