Archive for the ‘Off the Cuff’ Category

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What’s Black and White and goes anywhere?
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It is obviously wedding season because we just got asked again (for the umpteenmillionth time) to help a customer find something to wear to one such occasion due to take place in hot weather.
wedding umbrellas in black and white
We, of course, always want to help, but shopping for special events is tricky because it’s a “feeling” they are shopping for, not just clothes. They don’t want to spend too much, she is wearing this and she is wearing that, it has to be pink or…, the ceremony is at the beach, their husband wants them to wear green, the bride wants yada-yada-yada and on and on it goes. Not much leeway huh? Honestly, helping with everyday clothes is much easier.

So, may I make a suggestion? Think black and white. Why?

      Because it never goes out of style
      It is available for purchase year round
      It is appropriate for any event
      It might already be in your closet

First of all, black and white are truly classic. They have been around since the dawn of woman. I bet 95% of American women own at least one pair of black pants and black shoes. And a white blouse or tee shirt is maybe even more commonly found. They are “go to” pieces.

Secondly, there is not one day out of 365 that we do not have a black pant (or more than one) for sale in our store. And there is barely a day we do not sell one either. There are even stores that sell nothing but black and white.

And, furthermore, there is almost always at least one person (besides me) at any dressy event I’ve ever been to who is wearing black and white. I’ve seen it at funerals, concerts, ballets, reunions, theatre, christenings and these days even weddings.

So, look through your closet. Don’t you have a black skirt or palazzo pant that you can dress up? And if you don’t, we do. Right now I have several black pants hanging in my closet that I can pair up with my white crochet top or white lace blouse and they’ll take me anywhere.

Personally I would rather save my sheckles for an item I am going to wear more than for one I “felt” was appropriate for a particular special event. Furthermore, I refuse to shop when I’m under pressure to find something, so black and white are my “go tos”. Then if I need a touch of color I simply add it in my shoe or handbag or both. To be really honest, I’m so into neutrals these days that sometimes the only color I often have on is on my toenails. Do you know blue is the latest trend these days on that part of the anatomy? I haven’t tried it yet. Sometimes I can be a bit slow. Oh well!
Off the Cuff is a periodic casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds, WA

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Clam Diggers
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Forgot I had this yummy recipe for Clam Chowder until I had the hankering for it the other night. Try it out and I think you’ll agree.

Creamy Clam Scallop Chowder

8 oz. fresh scallops
3 6-1/2 oz. cans, minced clams
6 slices bacon
3-4 c. peeled and cubed potatoes
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
2 T. fresh dill
3 tsp. instant chicken granules
1 T. pepper
2 c. milk
1 c. half & half
3 T. flour
1 c. shredded carrot
2 T. dry sherry

clamStrain clams. Save juice. Set aside. Fry bacon til crisp and reserve 2/3 T drippings. Drain bacon on paper towel. In 3 Qt. kettle add drippings, juice, onion, dill, bullion, potatoes and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer @ 10 minutes. Mash a few of the potatoes. Combine milk, half & half and flour, stir until smooth. Add to potato mixture. Add carrot. Stir till bubbly. Stir in clams and scallops. Boil. Cook over reduced heat 1-2 minutes. Stir in sherry. Garnish with dill.

Yummy served with Goat cheese/Craisin Salad.

So here’s what happened due to my one small hankering. I was telling Julie about this recipe and subsequently (as per her suggestion) decided we would send it on to you via our newsletter. We don’t always have to write about fashion we figured. But, we could tie it into fashion if we wanted and write a bit about “clam diggers“. (That was my suggestion.) Well, that took us to google as we wondered where the name actually originated. But somehow “clam quotes and jokes” miraculously appeared on the screen and we found this.

What did the clam do on his birthday?

He had a shellabration.

audreyThat set us off giggling even though it was total corn. We did then get back to Wikipedia and read about what a clam digger actually was. But moments later Julie ran across that ever so elegant picture of Audrey Hepburn in fitted ankle pants and one other of Doris Day in pedal pushers on a bicycle and off we went on another tangent. We’ve shared these pics with you (Julie’s suggestion).dorisWhat’s all the fuss about all these different pant lengths anyway, we asked one another. They’ve been around forever. But weren’t Audrey and Doris gorgeous? They could wear a paper bag and be knockouts.

So all this because I had that small hankering the other day. Nonetheless we spent the afternoon happy as clams as we planned this latest post and helped our many wonderful customers.   (click to enlarge images above)

Thought processes can be a little scary sometimes. I know mine can be!

Off the Cuff is a periodic casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds, WA

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So What’s Up For 2013?
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Well, I know it is a new year because I had to write 2013 on a recent check, I’m busy calculating a year end inventory figure for our bookkeeper and I’m reviewing 2012 from both a personal and business perspective.  I’m also thinking a lot about what I’d like 2013 to bring.  I figure I might as well put that out there as early in the year as possible as we all know how time can fly.

When I think back on 2012 I’m ever so thankful for being able to weather the economic storm and for the determination I have.  I’m also thankful that I work and live in caring, supportive communities and that I thoroughly enjoy what I do and who I do it with.  Working with all of you, my dear mom and incredible crew is more than I could ask for.  I am so pleased that Sound Styles can give us all so much and I hope for that to continue.

So, what’s up for 2013?    Well, I have several small goals in mind personally and several in mind for our store.  But there is one larger goal that fits for both and  that is to be truly open to and accepting of change.
I actually want to leave room for it.  I want to wonder about what might lie around the corner.  I don’t want to be so busy always orchestrating the next move that I don’t notice all that is going on around me.  What opportunities will arise? What new adventures lie ahead?  I’m reading “Undaunted Courage” about Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the opening of the American West. Wow! Talk about adventure and courage and inspiration. Those guys were real explorers.

However, and closer to home, I’ve already had customers ask about what’s coming for Spring in terms of fashion.  Actually it is already both arriving and selling.  Interestingly enough, the first fashions that arrive for an upcoming season are often quite seasonless, especially for those of us here in the NW.  For spring we’re seeing lots of black and white, lots of prints, texture mixing, feminine details like ruffles, lace and applique, flat front pull-on colored jeans (oh really?), bright colors like  turquoise, red, purple, orange and fuchsia.  Prints are being combined and so are contrasting colors.  Skirt lengths are across the board. The look is bright and bold.

Furthermore, suitcase packing is easier than ever before.  We noticed this as we were helping someone pack for a Mexico trip the other day.  Fabrics are soft and easy care and colors definitely don’t have to match.  It’s hard to mess up.  Just don’t pack too much.

So Happy New Year!  Here’s to leaving room for healthy change, new adventure, a little lace and beautiful colors along the way. A trip to Mexico wouldn’t be bad either!
Off the Cuff is a periodic casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds, WA

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Spinach and Clothing?
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So what do spinach and womens clothing have to do with each other?
No, textile scientists haven’t yet figured out how to make fabric from spinach.  And no, color trend forecasters aren’t calling the new green “spinach”.  Actually, I made my own connection between the two several weeks ago when we were deeply involved in showing fall clothes.

Fall fashions this year are indeed beautiful but so unlike what we’ve worn in past seasons.  This seasons fashions have been, and continue to be, all about what I refer to as “stuff”.  By that I mean details.  It’s about ruffles, ruching, uneven hemlines, texture, big accessories, decorative zippers, large prints, etc.

Customers were commenting left and right, “no, that’s not me” when I’d show them something new.  Some were quite reluctant even to try them on.  Seeing a trend developing, I finally said to one woman, “do you have kids?” and she answered, “yes”.  Then I made my move and asked, “did you encourage them to taste spinach before they said they didn’t like it?”.

Most parents did that, right?  What could she say?  So far not one person has answered no and I’ve asked quite a few.  So I grab the item in question and into the dressing room they go.  “Just taste” I say.  “You might like it”.  And they often do!

Did you teach your kids to taste spinach?
Off the Cuff is a periodic casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds, WA

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What’s Up With Pants!

Sound Styles Soundings
The fashion industry is really efficient when it comes to stretching the range of normal, in evidence this spring by none other than pants.  I noticed this stetch yet again a couple of weeks ago when several “second wave” customers (those that shop when the weather actually changes) began to request black pants that button at a waistband, are full length and plain and are simply functional.  I had nothing to show them!

Aghhh, I thought.  How could I have missed such a basic?  It became even more evident when I began to show them what we did have in pants and I watched their eyebrows raise as far as they could and would go up on their foreheads.

    “Really?” they’d say.  “Can’t wear them to work” or “I’m too old for that” or “What do I do for shoes?” or “Nothing to go with that color.”  You get the picture!

So I knew change was afoot.  Once again, fashion change was marching on.  Has anyone figured out how to stop it?  And fashion change can be a real bugger.  I, for one, happen to like it as long as it’s not on full speed.

But, nonetheness, our (sometimes strange) job is to bring what we think of as the workable part of the changes in fashion to all of you who shop with us.  Yes, it does feel strange to stand up and believe in what we are saying to be workable when we meet such “high eyebrows.”  So thought I’d use my first “OFF THE CUFF” post to relay some new ideas about what’s happening in pants this season.

I was in Europe last summer and thought I was in “Pant Heaven” they were so cool!  Pants were brite colored, all different lengths and often embellished at the ankle.  Even guys were wearing colored capris!  Now those concepts have reached our shores and are raising eyebrows in Edmonds.  I recently told a customer who needed a bit of permission to wear a colored capri that “by the time it reaches both Edmonds and Sound Styles… it’s pretty safe.”  She laughed and bought the capri.  Another customer summed it all up this morning when we were once again passing along new ideas in pants.  She asked, with raised eyebrows, “so the new normal is abnormal?”  Yep, she got it right!

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Off the Cuff is a periodic casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds, WA

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