That Spring Thing!

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.

Owner Jenny shows the new linen collection from Kleen Clothing!

Four Ways to Sunday!

           
    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!

Ginger or Mary Ann?

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.

Meow! Fashion Copy Cats

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!

SAVE OUR SATURDAYS

Attention: Customers & friends! Please take the time to answer this survey and help the retailers out to SAVE OUR SATURDAYS!

Click the link below to get started-

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MOM and ME

Quote for the Week:

      "Life doesn't come with a manual. It comes with a mother." ~ unknown

Calling all friends! Shelly needs your help with her design for this years’ Mother’s Day window.

We’d love to feature your mom and me photos in our window. If you would like to participate, please drop off your photo at the store by end of month. All photos will be returned later in May. Or, if easier, email a photo to: shellyhampton74@yahoo.com . . . as soon as possible.

Let’s fill Shelly’s window with lots of our Mom memories.

For identification and to begin the window: from top left we have Shelly’s mother and grandmother. Then there is me and my mom. And last, but definitely not least, we have Jenny and Dolores.

Come join us for this years’ Mother’s Day.

We thank you for being part of our Sound Styles family.

And because I just can’t resist. . . there is a second Quote for this Week:

    "Someday when the pages of my life end, I know that you will be
     one of the most beautiful chapters." ~ unknown


An homage to J. Peterman

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!