Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

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 »

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!

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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. 

Read Full Post »

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. 

peppercorns

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.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »