Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Quote of the week:

As the seasons change, so goes my closet!  

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

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


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

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

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

I’m thinking duster rather than dress.

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

Voila!

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

Pajama drawer maybe for these plaid drawstring pants?

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

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

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

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

Here are some tips to help us decide what goes:

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

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

Next week awaits!

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

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    Quote of the Week:

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

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

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

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

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

What to choose for my “key piece?” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flirty.

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

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

I digress! Back to the topic at hand.

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

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

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

FYI: A few tidbits about wider leg pants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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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!

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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. 

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.

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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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