style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
It’s been an entire month since my last post?! How did that happen? I’ll tell you how…we moved! Moving is a giant chore! Thank you for your patience. My family and I are feeling fairly settled in our new space. No matter how organized, moving creates its own brand of chaos! I’m so thankful to have this move behind us.
Okay, on to the final recap. I've done it! I have officially made it through my entire wardrobe and I've worn ALL of my clothes.
Every. Single. Piece.
The experiment took a bit longer than I expected. Since I only work outside of the house part-time, I only wear real outfits a few times a week...as a result wearing everything I own took almost 2 months...even though my closet isn't packed.
I loved this challenge. I can’t believe I'd never tried this before now. It was incredibly eye-opening to see how much and what type of clothing I really own.
As I came to the final pieces of my wardrobe, it was increasingly difficult to create chic outfits without re-wearing tops and jackets. I was determined to resist duplication and managed to pull together unique looks with the remaining seldom-worn items.
I enjoyed how much this exercise stretched me and forced me to think outside my usual wardrobe box.
If you haven’t tried it already, I urge you to start today! The 'Wear Everything I Own Challenge' provides an unusual opportunity to really experience all of your clothing. If you want to redefine your style, clean out your closet, edit your wardrobe or simply shake up your outfits...try it!
It costs nothing and is actually fun!
I've been asked to show full photos of each outfit. Below you'll find pictures of my final outfits. My apologies for the grainy images. Seems I was always rushing out the door and scrambling to get the shot. I'll work to improve the quality for future posts:-)
1. I have a lot of clothing! Some pieces, I like more than I'd thought and I'm excited to put them into regular rotation. Other items were just ‘okay' and it's time to let them go. I also realized that I have some really great basics; jeans, jackets, booties.
2. I had zero interest in shopping while I was doing this experiment.
None. This actually felt very strange. I really didn’t want to buy anything. I was so determined to work through my closet that adding more clothing seemed crazy! I also wasn't sure what I really wanted...so shopping seemed foolish during the challenge.
3. There are a few holes in my wardrobe. I discovered which pieces could be added to help round out my wardrobe. For instance, I have good jackets, but would like a few interesting tops to wear under them. I love boyfriend jeans. I wear them all the time. I could use a new pair. Also, black shoes. I need a pair of black shoes that I can wear as an alternative to my black booties. And...date clothes! I’m missing pieces that make me feel sexy. I plan to find a few items to wear on dates with my husband. Pieces that feel luxurious and look great!
4. I am ready for a Capsule Wardrobe. There, I said it! This is the most shocking result of this project. I have never wanted to try a capsule wardrobe. Never even considered it. I always loved reading about other women’s success with capsules, but didn’t want one for myself.
Now, I do. I haven’t begun putting together my capsule…I’m still working on hanging pictures:-) Next challenge?
Create a functional, authentic, beginner's capsule that works for me. I promise I'll share the process here...
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Again, thanks for your patience and kind words. Each comment during our move gave me a boost and a smile as I packed and unpacked.
I’m thrilled to be back. Fresh posts coming each week. If there’s a topic you’d like covered…just ask!
As always, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for being here.
PS...Episode 2 of the Q & A is coming next week!
Well, it's day 31 of 31 Days -a writing challenge. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed Simple Style A-Z. I loved sharing this month with you.
Thank you so much for following along. I hope you found some useful tips for discovering and cultivating your own fabulous style.
Your style is uniquely your own. Use it to express yourself beautifully and authentically. Expect your style to change over the years. Accept that fact as a natural part of evolving and aging. Don't let give up. Don't settle.
Looking great is not hard. It doesn't have to be expensive. Finding your look and owning it will improve your confidence and make getting dressed a simple task. It takes a bit of effort to lay the groundwork but then effortless style becomes a part of your life. Forever.
If you don't love your look...change something.
Small steps will help you build the courage and confidence needed to
rock your own unique style.
Always wear gold jewelry? Try silver
Only own black shoes? Buy brown next time
Forever in denim? Pull on some corduroys
Sweaters every day? Sample a blouse
As I wrap up the final day of the challenge, please remember...
As important as it is to look great, we are only talking about clothing.
Don't take it all too seriously. Don't spend all of your time shopping.
Make a style plan
Create a budget and save
Shop for the season
Build a fantastically functional wardrobe
Go live your life!
The tiniest changes can lead to bold moves in your wardrobe...
and in your life. Be brave.
Be you. Better.
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Thank you from the bottom of my heart for traveling with me on this
31 day journey. I hope you'll stick around for what comes next. Lots of great style stuff just for you!
Thanks for reading.
In order to stay stylish...it’s important to stay inspired. Finding inspiration is a vital part of keeping your look fresh. Your wardrobe must continue to evolve with you…supporting you through the different phases of your life. At some point, you might discover that your style is stuck. Don’t stress. It happens to all of us! To help you get back on track, I want to share a few of my favorite places to find style inspiration when I’m feeling trapped in a wardrobe rut.
These books have helped me time and time again. They sit on a shelf in
my closet and I refer to them regularly when I need a little boost.
that extra half an inch – by Victoria Beckham
Regardless of how you felt about the Spice Girls, Victoria Beckham has proven herself to be a formidable presence in the world of fashion. Her brand is well-loved, respected and highly successful. In addition, Victoria Beckham is always impeccably dressed.
This fun book is loaded with VB’s tips and quips about how and where to find great style. Sexy photographs and lovely illustrations are combined with solid, helpful information...making this a true style guide.
Parisian Chic- A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange
As you may already know, I'm a huge fan of Ines de la Fressange. Her personal style speaks to me. Her aesthetic resonates with mine. Within
the pages of this snazzy red book, she beautifully explains how to dress and live like a Parisian. In addition to her “six-point guide to the Parisian gene code” this treasure also features a lengthy section titled…
Ines’s Paris…which includes ”handpicked addresses” for her Paris favorites. It’s like a peek into her little black book of all things stylish in the City of Lights. This book is a must for your next trip to the capital of chic.
Paris Street Style – A guide to effortless chic
by Isabelle Thomas and Frederique Veysset
I looked at this book one day while working at Anthropologie. After a quick glance, I knew I had to own a copy. It's a cool book full of ideas and suggestions to help you find your own style. It also contains interesting interviews with the world’s style-makers. Plus, great photos for inspiration!
Lessons from Madame Chic-
20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott
I’ve personally referred back to this book several times in the past few years. I do find Jennifer’s vibe a bit old-fashioned, but in the most delightful way. As a result of her student exchange trip to France, Ms. Scott now lives her life with more grace and poise.
With regards to style, Jennifer explains the mystique and genius of the
10 Item Wardrobe which is readily embraced by French women. I'll share more on this concept in a coming post. This book is a wonderful read for anyone wishing to better understand the essence of French women. It’s almost impossible not to make a few positive changes to your life after reading it.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up –
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
While this is not a book about style, it is a book that will forever change your closet and your relationship with your clothing. I loved this book
so much that I started a YouTube channel to share my experience withMarie Kondo’s incredible KonMari method.
You can watch here…
All of the books mentioned are available on Amazon. Just click the titles for a direct link (I have no affiliation, just wanted to make it easier for you.) It seems that many of these books are available used for only a few dollars.
I also find inspiration in several other places...
InStyle magazine- Currently, my favorite for real life style. I’ll always love Vogue, but it is harder to translate the pages of Vogue into a look that most women would be comfortable wearing.
My amazing co-workers at Anthropologie! I am blessed to work with a team of incredible women who each have their own fabulous style. We represent a variety of age groups and life-stages. I love seeing how differently we each style the very same garment!
Pinterest- When I’m in the right mindset, I adore Pinterest. I enjoy creating boards filled with European street style. The images available on Pinterest are seemingly countless, just take it in small doses so you don’t become overwhelmed.
Time spent in a metropolitan city- There is nothing like spending time in a big city for recharging my creative outfit juices. My favorites are New York, Paris and Madrid…but any big city will do. Allow some time for people watching. I find that I’m much more willing to try new things after seeing the variety and pure expression of personal style on urban women.
And tomorrow is day 31 already.
It’s bittersweet for me as I face the last day of this challenge.
I have truly enjoyed writing for the past 30 days.
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Thank you so much for being here and for reading. It means the world!
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The last letter of the alphabet is brings us to Zara. If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a Zara store, then you know how much style this amazing retailer brings to the world of affordable fashion. The first Zara was opened by Amancio Ortega and his wife in La Coruna, Spain in 1975. This week (40 years later), Business Insider featured an article about this retail giant…
You can read the entire article here...
This clothing company, whose CEO was briefly richer than Bill Gates,
is blowing the competition out of the water
Today, Zara has 6500 stores in 88 countries. The incredible thing about
Zara is that they've found a way to combine the latest fashions with
high quality and affordable prices. It's a trio that works! They've been increasingly successful for the past four decades. No wonder Amancio Ortega is the second richest man in the world.
Unfamiliar with Zara?
Here’s what I know-
It's a fascinating mix of some of your favorite stores. Think…a bit of H&M,
a touch of Target’s best fashion options with some Forever 21 thrown in…
all merchandised to look more like Nordstrom or a high-end clothing shop.
The quality is incredible! Most pieces look and feel like they should cost considerably more than their actual price.
It’s not uncommon to admire a sweater in Zara…
be swept away by the quality and details…
try it on and promptly fall in love…
and then realize that it’s only $39.90 Full-price!
My list of what you should check out at Zara is long…in fact, it might include every category in the store:-)
The sweaters are amazing
Zara’s coats are stylish and current
The accessories are on trend…handbags, belts, scarves, jewelry!
Luxurious trousers and skirts
They offer lovely work attire with an edge
Zara’s evening wear is beautiful
TRF is the trendier, less classic Zara line
There is also Zara Maternity for expectant moms who want to look
Denim- I wasn’t expecting to be impressed with their denim, as the price points are ridiculously low. However, my daughter tried on a few pairs of jeans and I must say…they were super flattering and very stylish.
Shoes- I don’t have any experience with Zara’s shoes. They look great,
but I haven’t ever tried a pair on myself. Please comment below if you
have any info on Zara shoes.
There are about sixty Zara stores in the United States. If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a Zara…I urge you to go check it out!
Traveling to Europe? Leave room in your luggage and find the nearest Zara, as most European cities have at least one.
If you can’t make it to one of Zara's locations, shop from their online site.
It’s not quite as fab as visiting a store, but it’s much better than nothing.
Still two more days of Simple Style…and then some cool stuff to follow.
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Thanks so much for reading. Do you love Zara like I do? Tell me more...
Trying to be younger is pointless…but trying to preserve a sense of youthfulness is essential to aging gracefully. There is a grey area between giving up when it comes to style and trying too hard to be stylish. I’ve found that many women reach a point in their lives when they choose to default to a sense of no style. This phase can happen at any age, but is most often seen after forty.
Women move into an unfamiliar stage in life and abandon the concept of trying to look sharp. Often there are myriad reasons for this ‘giving up’, but the result is a woman who looks like a tired mess and therefore feels like one, as well. It makes me sad to see a woman who’s lost her way with regards to putting herself together.
There is no magic pill. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can keep
from looking like you’ve thrown in the towel. A dull, outdated, uninspired wardrobe can't possibly make you feel good or youthful.
Youthful style = current and fresh.
A woman with a youthful style possesses a sense of playfulness and curiosity. She tries new things! Youthful doesn’t mean trendy or trashy...
it means that you still care enough to keep your look modern.
Instead of resigning yourself to looking ‘okay’, remain open and stay informed. Adopt trends that you can translate into age-appropriate style.
7 Ways to Keep Your Look Youthful...
Stay covered- As we age, so does our skin. One of the best ways to look younger is to cover up some skin. Choose your best skin and let a bit show in that area. Maybe it’s your legs or your arms…show it off in a tasteful way. Pay attention to chic older women. You’ll notice they are usually a bit more covered than their ‘trying too hard’ contemporaries.
Fit matters- If you don’t already have one, find a good tailor. Clothes that fit well help you look younger. Don’t be discouraged if a piece needs to be altered in order to properly hug your body. Clothing is made on fit models, not real women. A nip or a tuck to a garment can make all the difference!
Color can be your friend- I am prone to wearing mostly solid, neutral colors. I'm most comfortable in navy, black, and grey. However,
I've started to introduce a bit of color into my wardrobe. A touch of color can add much needed whimsy to an otherwise plain outfit. Choose colors that are flattering to your skin and hair. The correct hues should brighten you up!
Take pride- L’Oréal is right…you are worth it! Don’t forget that. Your style should make you proud! Regardless of your age, bank account, lifestyle or figure…it’s totally possible to look and feel youthful. A few small changes and you’ll begin to wonder why you waited so long to take back your style!
Buy quality- Though young women can often wear items of lower quality and still look great…this becomes more difficult to pull off as you age. Moving forward, choose better quality pieces over a closet filled with ‘cheap’, poorly made clothing. Good quality doesn’t have to be expensive. Having fewer items, but investing in those items, costs the same (or less) than countless inexpensive pieces. Creating a great wardrobe just takes a bit of mindfulness and practice.
Cool shoes- This one is big. The wrong shoes will instantly sap the youthfulness right out of your outfit. I only wear comfortable shoes, but
I refuse to wear shoes that look dated or frumpy. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Spend a day trying on shoes that are different from what you would usually wear. Be open to a new shape and style. One of the fastest ways to upgrade your look is with a cool new pair of shoes.
Your best hair- So important. Bad hair is not youthful…it’s a complete buzzkill to your style. Your hair can be short or long, grey or colored…but it must be modern.
Not sure where to start? Be on the lookout for women in your town with awesome hair! Stop them and ask who they go to for cut and color. Start
a file of hairdresser options and begin to research them for price, location availability. Check out Yelp and CitySearch for reviews. Troll Pinterest or magazines and create a vision board for your hair. Then…choose a salon and go for it! Great hair is attainable for everyone. You might have to let go of the hairstyle you rocked in high school. You might have to accept that your best hair is not that of a Victoria’s Secret Angel…but trust me…the right hairstyle and color is one of the fastest way to look and feel incredible!
Age is just a number.
Keeping your look youthful will help to make aging more fun!
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Thanks so much for reading. Okay, I'm ready...please give me your best tips for staying youthful! Have a question? Ask away...I'm always happy to help.
I apologize for making up today’s word. I know that X-tras isn’t really a word...but in my defense, there aren’t any (that I could find) X words that relate to style. So…thanks for giving me a pass.
X-tras are those pieces in your wardrobe that add some pizzazz. They aren’t basics or essentials...and they aren't the same for everyone. There are no rules for what qualifies as an x-tra. You call the shots. You decide what becomes that ultra-fantastic piece that makes you feel like a rock star every time you wear it. X-tras are special.
After you’ve created a functional closet filled with clothing that supports your lifestyle and allows you to dress with ease….it’s time to add some special sauce.
These pieces are not what you reach for every day, but they are vital to your wardrobe. The x-tras are waiting in the wings, yet always at the ready when you need to pump up the wow factor.
Some examples of awesome x-tras include...
A fairy tale skirt, a show-stopping jacket or sweaters that sparkle. Remember, you determine what this element looks like for you. Once you find a piece you love...don't save it for special occasions.
Go ahead and mix it into your every day wardrobe. Be brave.
The holidays will be here soon. Now is the perfect time to experiment and find an x-tra for your wardrobe. The stores are filling up with all things fabulous…and you'll fit right in this season when you rock a little more bling. Need some inspiration? Anthropologie and J Crew are masters at curating looks that include one (BIG) part dazzle!
It's the final week of Simple Style A-Z.
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Thanks so much for reading. I would truly LOVE to hear what x-tras you're adding this season! Please comment below or even better, send me a photo... email@example.com
How you feel about winter has much to do with where you live. In Southern California, it’s just another mild season. To the folks in Boston or Chicago, it’s an often dreaded deep freeze. I have only ever lived in states where it’s cold in the winter. I grew up on the east coast, disliking the cold weather…always dreaming of warmer days. I think part of the reason that I couldn’t warm up to winter was the fact that my wardrobe was ill-equipped to keep me toasty and chic at the same time.
I moved to Colorado a little over two years ago. I’m happy to report that my outlook on winter has changed drastically. I now realize that winter in some places is eagerly anticipated…even celebrated.
It shows in a woman's style when she embraces winter. You've seen them...in your own town, on the silver screen or photographed in Telluride or Aspen...I’m referring to those women who rock winter with effortless style. They look weather-appropriate and fabulous even in bitter temperatures.
I might not be able to help you with your attitude about winter...but I can help you create a gorgeous, winter-friendly wardrobe. Here's what you'll need...
A great coat- This one is a must. There is no way around owning a good coat if you live where it’s cold. Keep in mind that your coat sets the tone
for your style all winter long. It's what people will see first...sometimes it's all they'll see. A super stylish outfit isn't visible under a bad coat. Make your coat a priority.
Choose a style that’s in keeping with the rest of your wardrobe. In really cold climates you might actually need two coats…one for cold days (something that's wool or lightly quilted) and one for frigid days (some version of the iconic North Face long parka).
Stylish boots with a traction sole- I know that most of the world has moved away from Uggs, but I’m still in the Uggs camp. I realize that they are not the most ‘fashionable’ boot, but THEY ARE WARM. Like ‘keep your toes from falling off while watching your daughter’s riding lesson in the barn’ warm!
I have purchased Uggs new (at Nordstrom Pre-Season Sale) and used at Plato’s closet for under $40. Truth is, I actually love the used ones more! Don’t write off this style because of price or lack of style…they will keep your feet warm so that you’ll hate winter less.
There are lots of other boot options for winter. Just be sure that whatever you choose has a lug sole that won’t slip on snow and ice.
Cold weather accessories:
Stylish gloves or mittens that are actually warm- There are tons of fun options when it comes to covering your hands…just make sure that the pair you choose will actually keep your hands warm. Cute doesn’t matter if your fingers are numb.
Worried about not being able to use your smart phone? Don’t be, gloves with sensor pads on the fingertips or mittens with flip-tops and half- fingered gloves underneath are available everywhere! So, you’ll still be able to swipe:-)
A fabulous hat- Hats come in a zillion styles, textures and colors. You might find it hard to pick only one…so don’t. Knit beanies are chic and modern. Try on a bunch and step out of your comfort zone a bit. This isn’t a huge investment. It’s a hat. Have fun with it.
Amazing scarves- Scarves are literally the icing on the cake. If you prefer to keep your winter ensemble monochromatic and possibly even all black or grey…a colorful scarf can be your signature for winter. Pick one that feels incredibly soft in your hands. No itchy yarns. Choose colors that are flattering with your face first, then your coat. Here, big is better. Your winter scarf should create a stunning ‘collar’ to finish your look.
Silk long underwear- Ideally; opt for 100% silk, as it’s uber insulating. Wear them under your regular clothing for an added layer of warmth without any bulk. Tops and bottoms are often sold together and are available from lots of retailers. Check out Amazon, Uniqlo and even Costco…
Warm socks- Give your boots and shoes some help by purchasing a few pairs of socks created to protect your toes from frostbite. Visit your local ski shop or sporting goods store…grab a pair that’s made especially for winter.
Ready to shop for your winter style survival kit? Here’s where I’d start…
Target- almost a ‘one-stop-shop’ for your winter wardrobe
Your local department store- a full selection of everything you need
Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s Club- you’ll be amazed at what’s inside…
Marshalls or TJ Maxx- for socks, coats and winter accessories
Plato’s Closet- for high-quality boots and coats at resale prices
Anthropologie and Forever 21- loads of interesting and stylish scarves, hats and gloves…at a variety of prices.
If you need some inspiration to gear up for the winter ahead…treat yourself to a dose of The Holiday. What a magical film! Even before moving to CO, this movie helped to change the way I view winter. Caution: You’ll become obsessed with finding a cozy, pastel cashmere sweater and possibly your own Jude Law.
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Thanks for reading. How do you stay warm and stylish in the winter? I'm always looking for tips. Please share!
It’s day two of the letter V. I’d like to share my recent interview with an amazing young woman named Vithya. I first met Vithya when she booked a Personal Styling appointment with me at Anthropologie. I have since worked with her many times at the store and in her home. Her style is impeccable and she is beautiful, inside and out.
In addition to Vithya’s enviable way with clothing…her closet is awesome! She turned a spare room into a style sanctuary! I’m so grateful that she agreed to answer my questions during 31 Days of Simple Style.
1. What made you decide to turn a bedroom into a closet?
Our bedroom has a small single closet which was perfect for all of my husband's stuff, but there wasn't much room for me. Before we transformed the spare bedroom into a closet, my items were scattered throughout the house. Some pieces in the study, some in the guest bedroom, and some in the laundry room, plus lots of stuff in various plastic storage boxes. I was always struggling to find where everything was located. Finally we decided to move my husband’s downstairs office to an upstairs room and convert the bedroom where he had been keeping an office into a closet. Best decision of my life. I finally saw all my things in one place. It gave me an opportunity to truly assess my style and wardrobe. It was exhilarating.
2. How did you come up with the design? How long did the project take to complete?
We came up with the design for my closet using a checklist of my ideals. Ideally, I wanted the following:
1) Full length mirror
2) Short hanging space
3) Long hanging space
4) Jewelry drawers so I could see all of my accessories at once
5) Small area for clutches and shoulder bags (in my previous world, they were all stuffed in various corners),
6) One wall dedicated to shoes. Within the shoes area I wanted sections for boots.
Given these wishes, we looked at the room dimensions and drew up a plan. We had to work around the basement windows and lower ceilings. But these restrictions only helped me to design more quickly. I could only do
so much given the room we had.
We took about a day to draw up my ideal design. Next, we called a few closet providers and received quotes over the course of a month. Finally, we landed on a company that we felt was affordable and was customizable to my needs within their stock options. We didn't want to go too custom and have it be super expensive. The company came out and installed everything within one day. I got my closet done the day before Christmas. On Christmas, I giddily put in my entire wardrobe into the new closet.
It was so exciting!
3. Are you pleased with the results? Would you change anything about the final look?
I am absolutely thrilled with the results! The only thing I would have changed is maybe have less short hanging space and more long hanging space. When I originally designed the closet I felt I needed more short hanging space, but turns out I could have used more long hanging space.
4. What advice do you have for someone wanting to revamp their closet space?
My advice to anyone revamping their closet space is understand that even if it's a small space and not a bedroom like I did, it's still worth doing. It's a worthwhile investment. The peace of mind from knowing where everything is and being able to put things together in new ways has been so valuable. Plus (this is my husband's favorite part), I spend a lot less on clothes and accessories that I don’t like. I now only purchase things that I love. Having everything in one place made me realize how much I already have in my wardrobe.
5. What is your favorite part of your new space?
My most favorite part of my new space is that I am able to view and ascertain my wardrobe holistically. Do the items serve me? Are these items still good? I can now see this blouse goes with that skirt. Before my closet renovation, I would just buy random pieces never being able to see what they might go with. I was wasting money without even knowing it.
6. How do you approach creating your wardrobe?
My wardrobe creation has evolved and morphed so much over the years. When I was in my early 20's, everything was trend driven. I was constantly buying trendy items. Wasn't sure how to put it together, but just kept getting them and when I would wear them, many of the trends wore me instead of the other way around.
In my late 20's I kept purchasing items cerebrally. I would refer to fashion books that would tell me the "ten pieces every woman should own" etc. Some of the advice I still agree with, but there were many pieces in my wardrobe that I had just because I thought I "should" have but didn't really go with my lifestyle. One of the struggles I’ve had with my wardrobe is that
I naturally like to dress-up in a more formal way- pencil skirts, sheath dresses, blazers, etc. But for the last decade I have worked in more casual environments. I struggled with how to be appropriate for my setting and fit in, but still stay true to my natural style. This is why I decided to use a personal stylist. I wanted someone who could work with me to create a wardrobe that was both reflective of my personal style and appropriate for the casual city where I live.
7. What is your go-to outfit?
My go-to-fall outfit is a blazer, great blouse, skinny jeans and ankle booties, or a solid dress, statement scarf, leggings and booties.
My go-to-winter outfit is a blouse, sweater coat, skinny blue or black jeans and knee high flat boots.
My go-to-spring outfit is a statement skirt, striped tee or other tee, Tory Burch wedges.
My go-to-summer outfit is an ethnic inspired dress, gladiator sandals, and gold cuff bracelet.
8. How would you describe your style?
I like my style to be polished, refined, and chic. Olivia Palermo and Jenna Lyons are my style icons. I love how they can make a sequin or fringed skirt look effortless. The other day I was looking at my Pinterest board and noticed that there is a definite pattern to the apparel and home decor that I've selected. I love saturated color and geometric or modern ethnic inspired patterns.
9. What five pieces do you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?
1) Great pair of high-rise skinny jeans
2) Denim jacket
3) Knee-high boots with traction, lug sole, something you can wear in the winter on snow and ice
4) A statement necklace
5) A statement infinity scarf
10. What are the benefits of working with a Personal Stylist?
Sometimes people are surprised to hear that I work with a personal stylist because I love fashion so much. They figure I could do all of it myself. Not true. It's so nice to be able to work with someone who knows you, knows your taste. The stylist is able to envision things for you that you may have never considered. Someone else may not have the pre-conceived notions you have about your own wardrobe.
A personal stylist opens your eyes to possibilities. Working with someone as talented and kind as Kristen has been such a blessing. (Thanks so much, Vithya) Not only does she get my style and lifestyle needs, but she also subscribes to the same philosophy I have about having things that bring us joy. After having spent so many years buying things just because I thought
I was supposed to, it’s so nice to work with someone who doesn't pressure me to buy just anything. She works with me to create a wardrobe of items that bring me joy and that spills over to all areas of my life. It opens me up to making choices in all aspects of life that bring me joy.
Having a great wardrobe may seem like a superficial need, but I have seen in my own life how it has empowered me to be a better, more confident woman in many ways…much bigger than just clothes.
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Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed my interview with Vithya. What's the best part of your closet?
Although sometimes it’s difficult for me to admit…an outfit's second layer doesn’t have to be a jacket or cardigan. Another stylish option is a vest.
While I personally don’t often opt for a vest…I do appreciate the versatility and finishing power of this classic garment. Fall is a perfect time to consider
adding this easy piece to your wardrobe.
Three super things about a vest…
1. A vest can take the place of a blazer, jacket or cardigan sweater in
almost any situation. There is a vest version of almost every sleeved
2. It provides just enough extra warmth. I hear from many women that they can’t wear layers without overheating. Yet, most of my clients love vests because they aren’t too warm and still allow for that stylish final layer.
3. They're a bit unexpected – If you’re like most women, a vest will add a
little something new to your existing wardrobe. You might think you’ll have trouble finding an awesome vest…not so! Once you start to look, you’ll find them everywhere.
Ready to try a vest….
I suggest you either look for a vest that’s similar to a sleeved style
you already enjoy wearing…or step outside your comfort zone and pick one that's totally different.
The options below are like the ‘little sisters’ of their full-sleeved counterparts.
Puffer – Choose one that’s not too puffy. Opt for sleek and lean. This vest will actually add some real warmth. It’s a great choice for a brisk day.
Military- Classic! Most often seen in army green, but this vest is just a fab in another color. Keep your mind open. A military style vest won't add much weight, making it perfect to throw on all-year long.
Sweater – There are so many incredible sweater-vest styles. Look for a color and texture that works with what you have in your wardrobe. Pick a knit vest you love…you’ll wear it often. The softer and yummier…the better!
Fur- I'd go with faux fur…unless you have an amazing vintage option that’s made of real fur. Today’s man-made fur fabrics look and feel very realistic. In addition, fur vests are available at every price point. This option is modern and stylish. You can select a fur that looks real or you can go for shaggy pale pink! The choices are endless.
Denim- This vest offers the same great shape as timeless denim jacket. Like the military vest, a denim vest works in every season. Dark or light wash…your call.
Shearling- Super chic. Luxurious. And the faux version is machine washable. I prefer man-made shearling fabrics to the real thing…but
either one adds a touch of rich style to your wardrobe.
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Thanks so much for reading. Tell me what you think about vests? I'd love to know what style vest you are rocking!
Okay, this one’s going to be short and sweet. Today’s word is uniform. If you’re cringing right now at the thought of the word uniform and how it relates to style…you aren’t alone. Uniforms have a nasty reputation for being boring, uninspired and dictated by others. Usually what comes to mind are private schools, specific jobs or the military. Is that what you’re thinking? Not so fast…
When it comes to wardrobes…the uniform is really a beautiful thing! Having a template for your style is liberating. Uniforms save time and money…and make it possible to always look sharp. Effortlessly.
If you’ve read even a few of my posts (thank you;)…then you know that
my uniform usually includes a blazer. Maybe it’s because I went to public school and never really worked in a ‘corporate’ environment…but I love
a blazer! Love.
Here’s my feeling… a uniform allows you to express yourself within a few self-appointed boundaries. You call the shots…you decide what you’re most comfortable wearing. As a result, you become a better shopper…
you know to only choose pieces that will play well within your existing uniform. Much like having a schedule, a uniform isn't confining...it's actually quite freeing!
Need more variety? It’s totally fine to change it up and try something new. After all, you created your uniform; you can tweak it at any time! Yet, it’s comforting to know that you can rely on your ‘uniform’ when you want to feel and look like the best, most authentic version of you!
3 No-Fail Uniforms for Fall and Winter
1. A blazer, t-shirt and jeans
2. A long tunic or easy dress with leggings and tall boots
3. A skirt with tights and booties (flats or tall boots work well, too)
You can't go wrong with a blazer and jeans!
A simple dress or tunic with leggings or tights. So chic.
A fun skirt and tights. Super style.
Limiting choices and a using set formula translates into fewer headaches when choosing what to wear.
Remember, your wardrobe should support your lifestyle.
If the clothes you currently own aren’t doing that…then it’s time to reevaluate. I suggest reading Marie Kondo’s incredible book on tidying. Her method for wardrobes is truly life-changing.
Begin to build a wardrobe filled with pieces you love. Determine your
own uniform. I promise you'll discover that getting dressed becomes
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What do you think of uniform dressing? Do you have a 'uniform' you rock on a regular basis? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks so much for reading.
In fashion, texture refers to the feel or appearance of the surface of a fabric. Texture plays a crucial role in whether an outfit ‘works’ or not. This element is often overlooked and when handled poorly, can lead to an ensemble that’s either boring or a mess. Let me explain…
The correct combination of textures creates an outfit that is interesting
and stylish. The wrong mix of textures and the look appears out of balance.
The texture of a garment is determined by the fibers used to make the fabric and how those fibers are treated. For instance, silk fibers can be spun into yarn that can be knit or woven. The resulting fabric can be smooth, like a woven, silk blouse or bumpy, like a loose knit sweater.
The same holds true for other fibers, both natural and man-made.
In addition, the texture of a garment sometimes appears in the details of the finished garment…like with pleats or shirring/ruching (fancy words for smocking and gathering).
It's a bit of an art to combine pieces with complementary textures. Once you know the trick, you'll be a textural mix master!
There’s an easy way to make sure that your outfits have enough texture, but not too much. Think in threes.
If you follow the trio plan with regards to texture, you'll discover that this element of wardrobe building is super important...and even a fun place to experiment.
As a rule, you can either mix three very different textures or choose two that are similar and then add a wild-card.
Above is an example of a great mix of textures...
Jeans paired with a silk blouse and a wool blazer. The denim is smooth,
but a bit rugged, the blouse is soft and delicate... and the wool blazer is rough. These three texture work very beautifully together.
In comparison, if the jeans were paired with a cotton blouse and a cotton blazer...then the outfit would lack that wild card element. All of the fabrics would appear too similar in texture...without enough contrast. Jeans with a cotton blouse would pair better with a chunky-knit, wool cardigan than with a cotton blazer. Make sense?
Let's take a look at some well-chosen texture combos...
Oh, but first...
It's also important to consider your hair when getting dressed.
Well...let's say you have super curly hair or very long, straight hair...then your hair acts as an additional 'texture'. So, keep that in mind when choosing the fabrics that you'll wear close to your face. You want to strike a balance of texture that looks effortless and chic...never overdone.
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It's your turn...
Go ahead play with texture this season. It only takes a little practice to
know what works and what doesn't. Texture is a great place to have fun with your style!
I'd love to know your favorite ways to add texture to your wardrobe. Please comment below...
Thanks for reading.
Today is day two of the letter S. Or S version 2.0
S is for Shoes!
I need to confess that I am not a ‘shoe girl’. My shoe collection is actually quite small…especially when you consider that creating wardrobes is my job. I think part of it stems from the fact that I wear a size 10 shoe.
I sometimes feel that the shoes looking all amazing on the riser in the store (all size 7 or smaller) don’t translate so well into a size 10.
In addition, I’ve become very particular about how shoes fit and feel. I only buy shoes that are terrific when I first put them on my feet. Period.
If they don’t feel comfortable enough to walk in all day…they probably aren’t going to make the cut. My choices for the ideal footwear wardrobe are listed below.
Are these six styles in your closet?
Begin with black or brown…keep adding colors from there. Available in so many styles and heel heights, you can definitely find a pair you love! As you may have heard, Sam Edelman Petty booties are my absolute favorite! They are beyond comfortable, well priced and great looking. It you are puzzled about which pair of booties to buy next...don't hesitate. The Petty is the answer.
This area is tricky because the wrong flat shoes can date you. It’s important to stay current. Shoe styles change and this style seems to change quickly. A timeless, simple ballet flat is always in style. To find other options, take a look at Pinterest, in magazines or in stores. Pay attention to the toe box. Pointy, square, rounded… the shape can change with the season, so be mindful choosing a shoe that is modern and still classic.
This style is one of my favorites! I love a shoe style that’s borrowed from ‘the boys’. I like to mix masculine shoes with feminine clothing and jewelry. This lace up, stylish shoe is a fabulous addition to any wardrobe. It’s perfect with rolled up jeans, trousers, dresses and skirts. Regardless of your age, you can look fantastic in a pair of brogues.
I rarely wear heels, but I believe most women need a pair in their closet for those occasions that require heels. Mine are black patent leather, peep-toe sling backs. The heel is not too high and they are relatively comfortable for walking. Pick a pair you love in black or a nude that matches your skin. They will go anywhere. You can wear them with a dress or with jeans.
Look for a basic riding boot cut. You’ll find a wide selection in this shape. Choose brown or black. The top of the boot should come just to the bottom of your knee. I prefer styles with very little ‘stuff’…not too many buckles or zippers. Clean and elegant. Wear these with skinny jeans, tights or bare legs. I think I started to enjoy winter more once I invested in a pair of tall boots.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this amazingly versatile shoe. A pair of canvas Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers (I prefer low tops) is a timeless addition to any closet. This incredibly comfortable, wear with anything shoe is my all-time favorite. I stick with white, even though my feet are big. I love them brand new and I love them grungy. They are a shoe that adapts to any age group. Teens to 70+…Converse are iconic and always relevant. If you’ve never tried them…what are you waiting for?
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Where to shop…
Nordstrom– In stores or online. The started out as a shoe store.
Their return policy is awesome. If you buy a pair of shoes and they give you blisters or stretch out or just aren’t comfortable after wearing them…you can return them. No problem. And, don’t forget to check out Nordstrom Rack for a super selection of sale shoes.
DSW- The Designer Shoe Warehouse is a great place to check out the latest styles at very affordable prices. They carry a vast selection that includes tons of reputable brands. It’s worth the time it takes to walk the long aisles.
Zappos– An online shoe mecca. Even I buy shoes from this site sometimes...and I rarely shop online. Free shipping and free return shipping. Huge selection.
Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to hear about your favorite shoes.
I'm also happy to answer questions about finding the perfect pair. Comment below or email me...firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who know me know that stripes are a staple in my wardrobe.
Every season. No exceptions. The love of stripes must be genetic because my daughter, Greta has an even stronger love of stripes than I do. In fact, her Instagram bio states…"I’m probably wearing stripes". Love that girl!
The Breton striped shirt originated in the French Navy and has become an indisputable classic. I had to include it in my 'must haves' short list.
Take a glance at the stripe-wearing icons below...
Just for clarity, when I talk about stripes…I’m generally speaking of horizontal stripes, combining two of the following colors; navy, white,
black and cream.
Vertical stripes and stripes of other colors are fine, but my obsession with stripes doesn't usually stray from the colors listed above. Although, I will include camel, sometimes. I admit that I’m a bit of a stripes purist. However, I admit this with no apologies. I’m happy with limiting my stripes to only a few types, as this makes it much easier to scan a store and know which stripes I’d like to try. There is no need for me to pause at red and black stripes because I know they aren’t authentically me.
I strongly believe that every woman should have at least one classic, Breton-style striped top in her wardrobe.
Navy and white or black and cream. The rest is a matter of personal taste.
A Breton striped top looks fantastic without any effort.
Add it to jeans and you’re good to go.
Chilly? Layer it with a cardigan or a blazer and you’re done.
The look is French and chic and simple. Pulled together and timeless without trying too hard.
If only every piece of clothing was as fabulous as the striped top!
Lots still to come on 31 Days of Simple Style…
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Please tell me that you love stripes, too! I'm always on the lookout for
new stripe sources...where do you get yours?
And...so you don't think tomorrow is Groundhog's Day, today's post
was becoming too long, so I decided to split it in half.
Tomorrow is day two of the letter S...
Stay tuned for shoes!
Thanks for reading
By repeat, I mean the concept of wearing the same article of clothing over and over and over again.
This is tough for most American women. In the land of disposable fashion, we've adopted the ridiculous idea that we can never be seen wearing the same outfit twice. For real? Crazy!
We are not celebrities walking the Red Carpet who can’t wear the same gown twice… and they aren’t even buying the gowns, just borrowing them!
We are real women who need to create functional wardrobes that supports us in our everyday lives.
The idea is to only add to your wardrobe pieces that you truly love. If you follow that plan, then of course you’ll want to wear your clothes…a lot! After all, you bought them because you love them.
Do you think people will judge you if you wear the same clothing repeatedly? If it’s the same old, ratty sweatshirt and ill-fitting jeans, then maybe they will.
But, if you’ve created a wardrobe filled only with pieces that are authentically you…and you've learned know how to put together a dynamite outfit…
Here’s what the world actually sees…
1. Your confidence- By being able to ‘repeat wear’ the same
items many times in many ways, you leave people dazzled and wondering,
‘How does she do it?’
2. That you have cultivated your look and are proud of the pieces you have in your wardrobe. You aren’t afraid to wear your clothing more than once a week. I’m always amazed at how often I hear from clients that they could never wear something more than once a week. This is not a rule! I promise. A wardrobe should contain lots of core items that can be worn in a multitude of ways!
3. A woman who must have once lived in a chic European city (are there any un-chic European cities?) You’ll appear to have mastered the art of creating a minimalistic wardrobe...with your best-loved items in heavy rotation. Well done! This is the goal.
Please don’t think you can’t repeat part or all of an outfit. You can…and
you should. Wear your clothes. Often. No apologies necessary.
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Tell me about your repeats! What piece do you have in your wardrobe
that is currently on repeat? Do you change the look each time you wear it or keep it the same? I'd love to know...
Thanks for reading.
The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.
Quality is a tricky topic because it is a bit subjective. One person’s idea of good quality might be considered poor quality by another. I believe you have to develop your own standards for quality…taking into consideration your lifestyle and budget.
Four points to keep in mind with regards to quality…
1. Buy the best version of an item, at a price you can afford- If Forever 21 t-shirts in 100% cotton for $3.90 are the best you can afford…perfect. Don’t apologize. If a $68 James Perse t-shirt falls within your budget, go for it. They are both terrific options.
2. Price doesn’t dictate quality- Sometimes the version that is less expensive is actually better quality. As seen above…a $3.90 t-shirt can sometimes be the best choice. Well-crafted, high-quality garments are often available on sale or second-hand for a fraction of the original price. Shop wisely and you can often score incredible quality for a small cost.
3. Decide what quality means to you- Do you want to be able to wear your clothing for several seasons? If so, then you should definitely choose carefully to insure that the pieces you add to your wardrobe are of the best possible quality and made to last. If your style is a bit more 'of the moment', you’ll be able to buy items of a lesser quality, because you probably won’t wear them next season.
4. Save for investment pieces- These are the solid, hard-working items in your wardrobe…like a statement coat or a fabulous pair of boots. Do some research and find your perfect option. Then, be patient, make a savings plan and wait until you can afford to purchase the one you really want. You’ll be so glad you didn’t settle for a lesser version.
I’m a strong believer in buying the best version you can find and afford.
I think a well cultivated closet contains several investment pieces…mixed in with some good quality basics and a sprinkling of items that aren’t meant to last for the long haul...like tops, fun jewelry, sweaters. The role of the trendier, non-staple items is to enhance the better pieces...keeping the look fresh and bringing your style to life.
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Thanks for reading. I’d love to know your thoughts on quality. How do you decide what pieces to purchase for your wardrobe?
I follow a blogger who decided to give up jeans! That’s right. She swore
off jeans for an entire year. She forced herself to create outfits that didn’t include jeans.
I’m not sure I could do it. I love jeans! I love the way they look and the way they feel and how they simplify my life. Most days...at Anthropologie, in a client’s home, out to lunch, on a date…I’m wearing a pair of jeans.
However, her post did inspire me to consider some non-denim options for pants. So, let’s take denim off the table and explore great pants you can wear while you give your jeans a well-deserved rest.
Building a pants wardrobe beyond denim...
Khakis- A pair of pants in classic khaki will work wonders in your wardrobe. This wardrobe workhouse will coordinate with all of the items already in your closet. Almost anything you wear with your jeans, you can put with khakis. Black, red, pale pink, navy, stripes, plaid, floral…one pair of khaki pants can open up countless outfitting possibilities!
Chinos– I list these separately, because although traditional chinos
are often khaki colored, they can be found in a huge array of hues.
I recently purchased a pair of Pilcro Chinos from Anthropologie…they
are dark green and navy plaid! Coolest pants ever.
Corduroys– Once reserved for the preppy crowd, corduroy pants have been given an update. They’re a super choice for fall and winter because they are warm and comfortable. While corduroy pants are available in many different styles, I’d opt for a classic, 5-pocket jean cut with either a boot-cut or skinny leg. Again, the color options are limitless. Maybe try
two …one in a basic shade (navy, black, tan, military green) and a second in a fun color (bright red, mustard yellow, rust or forest green).
Wool trousers- I love a beautiful pair of trousers. Think long and fluid. Menswear inspired, but cut for a woman. This shape is often found in traditional men’s suiting fabrics…tweeds, gabardines, checks and plaids. Classic charcoal grey is always in style. Katherine Hepburn understood
how to look elegant and feminine in pants.
Cigarette– These are the pants made famous by Audrey Hepburn.
They're still just as chic today. Timeless. Slim and straight, this style stops just above the ankle. Black is the only real choice. I actually feel more stylish just typing about this iconic silhouette.
Cargo Pants- The cargo pant has been around a long time. In the fashion world, it’s been a bit overdone…but it is possible to find a pair of cargo-style pants that look modern and sharp. Opt for classic colors in a fabric that drapes well. This pant can be dressed up or down. I own a pair made of rayon and they hang beautifully on the body, but are comfortable enough to wear on a long flight.
Palazzo- These are long trousers with a loose, wide leg. The shape is mostly seen in the summer and on tropical vacations because Palazzo pants are usually made of lightweight, flowing fabrics that are breathable in hot weather. They can also be made from slightly heavier, crepe fabrics that allow this style to translate into holiday wear.
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Are you like me, preferring jeans above all others? Do you experiment
with different types of pants? Are some of these styles already in your wardrobe? I'd love to hear about the pants you love best.
Thanks for reading.
Today, I’m sharing my recent interview with a very special lady.
She's an icon in the Couture Department at Neiman Marcus in
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where she has been helping women look fabulous for almost 20 years. She has incredible style and is one of
the loveliest women I know. I've had the sincere pleasure of being her
co-worker and also have the honor of calling her my friend.
I'm so pleased to introduce…
Loro Piana Brand Ambassador and Personal Stylist.
I asked Robin to tell us a bit about her background…
I've been with Neiman Marcus for just about 20 years. I was hired as a brand manager for Giorgio Armani black label which I loved for 15 years.
I was responsible for buying for our store, merchandising our shop, and making sure the product was sold by all of the associates, myself included.
About five years ago, I became disenchanted with Armani (the quality
and product were not what they once were) and took over the Loro Piana brand. I'm responsible for much of the same. As the Loro Piana brand ambassador, I'm proud to say that our business has grow consistently and substantially.
Kristen: When did you know that you wanted a career in fashion?
Robin: My mother says I came out of her womb asking for a new outfit. So that probably gives you a good idea. As a child I was always creating outfits out of bath towels, scarfs, blankets... anything I could find in our home. I was also sketching dresses and outfit ideas all of the time. In high school, I got a job working in a very cute boutique and became quite a successful salesperson.
It was at my next job in a boutique called "Elegance by Edythe" that
my boss "saw something" in me. One day, he handed me a piece of paper with a very large number on it and explained that he wanted me
to go to New York and select merchandise to make his store "cool" and "young" and "hip". The number on the paper was to be my budget and I must say it was quite large number! I spent almost 11 years at this boutique and became his top salesperson along with being his buyer.
Later, I began to receive phone calls from several vendors and from Saks Fifth Avenue trying to recruit me. While in the King of Prussia Mall one Christmas with my mother and I noticed that Neiman Marcus would be opening a store there soon. I knew I had peaked at the boutique and decided to throw my name into the Neiman Marcus hat.
Unbeknownst to me, the couture director from Saks who’d been offering me "the moon and the stars" to join her team had left and gone to Neiman Marcus. When she saw my name, I did not even have to interview... I was hired instantly.
Kristen: What is the most rewarding part of your job as a stylist?
Robin: Nothing makes me happier than when I see a woman delighted, surprised and sometimes a bit in shock at how she can look and feel. It is
so much fun for me...not to change someone but to take them a little bit left or right of their comfort zone while still maintaining who they are at the core. When I hear that their husbands, friends and family love the way that they look and they tell me they have never felt so good or confident...
this is what inspires me.
And lastly, I'll say that watching people over time become more confident, self-assured and comfortable in their own skin is the most rewarding piece. I guess that goes along with the fact that I build relationships not just wardrobes... I truly love the women that I work with:-)
Kristen: What do you find that women struggle with when getting dressed and building a wardrobe?
Robin: I think it is very intimidating to walk into a large store or even a small store and see an array of merchandise that you are completely unfamiliar with... having no idea about size, cut, designer, etc.
The idea of having to pick pieces, put them together and make them
look like something wonderful is not an easy task. I suppose this is where someone like a personal shopper comes in handy. A good personal shopper will know cut, designer, how the sizes run and what works on
what body shape.
I'll speak for myself right now... I happen to love size-spatial relations,
color mixing, pattern, texture and so I have the most fun with mixing elements and pulling an extraordinary look together.
I think women could become better at this through either using a personal shopper/stylist or just being more confident.. be a little artistic, look in magazines and experiment a bit.
Kristen: What five things should every woman have in her wardrobe?
1- White jeans
2- Fabulous well cut jacket/blazer
3- Fabulous, fitted, crisp, white shirt
4- Leather pants – black, to be safe
5- An awesome pair of boots
And I know you only asked for five but, I have to say if you don't have great lip gloss and fantastic mascara to complete this picture you're doomed:-)
Kristen: Okay, so please share your favorite mascara
and lip gloss…
Robin: Mascara- Chantecaille Longest Lash. I've tried every brand; this
is by far the best! I cannot get enough! Lip gloss- Here are some of my favorites... Chantecaille in Patience and Sari Rose, Guerlain Kiss Kiss in
Chic Pink. Everyone looks great in these colors. They are similar to lip gloss, but are actually sheer lipsticks.
Kristen: How would you describe you own style?
Robin: I like so many different things but overall I would say clean cut, classic with a big twist... I like a little bit sexy...a little bit romantic and at times, VERY bohemian.
Kristen: What has influenced you the most with regards to fashion?
Robin: I think the biggest fashion influences on me were trips at an early age to Brazil and Paris. I found women to be flawless. They seemed to be born with a sense of style, not trying too hard like we Americans.
Kristen: Who are some fashion superstars you would love to meet in person?
Robin: I would love to meet Carine Roitfeld because she is absolutely stunning. does her own thing and is reported to be very nice. You should watch the documentary about her, it's called Mademoiselle C.
Kristen’s note: if you are unfamiliar with Carine Roitfeld, she is the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. She held the position from 2001-2011. Carine Roitfeld was born in 1954...at 61 years old she is still so chic.
In addition, even though he has made some very anti-semitic, nasty comments, I still think John Galliano is one of the most interesting people
in fashion and one of my all-time favorites...so I probably would like to meet him.
Kristen: Who is your style icon?
Robin: I don't have many style icons. However, if I had to pick one it
would be Carine Roitfeld. And...another person who knows how to style clothing absolutely brilliantly is Neiman Marcus's national fashion director,
Ken Downing. I'm happy to say I've met him several times.
Kristen: Please share your tips for looking great on a beach vacation?
Robin: I think in order to look chic on vacation you should have really clean, simple pieces packed. Absolutely have white: t-shirts, tank tops, jeans. Also, great beads/jewelry, a big beach tote, great sandals, a fun floppy hat and a gauzy sundress. Plus, good skincare products. Lip gloss...
Kristen: What is your ‘go-to’ outfit?
Robin: My go-to outfit is definitely a pair of super skinny jeans, awesome boots, a fitted T-shirt, one of my fitted Loro Piana cashmere jackets, a Loro Piana scarf and a great, large handbag (of which I have several favorites, but my newest favorite is from The Row).
Kristen: What one item should women add to their wardrobes this season to keep their look current?
Robin: A big, amazing (preferably fringed at the ends) lightweight cashmere scarf.
I hope you enjoyed this change of pace during 31 Days of Simple Style.
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If you happen to be in King of Prussia...make a stop on the third floor of Neiman Marcus and say 'Hello' to my friend Robin. She's sure to call you 'Love' and you'll leave feeling more beautiful as a result of just being near her.
Thanks for reading.
We currently live in a world where online shopping seems to rule. A few clicks and almost anything we can imagine will be delivered to our doorstep.
I have to confess, I am a terrible online shopper. I believe that’s because
I've spent many years working in retail stores. I appreciate the entire
old-school shopping process…the ability to touch the item, try it on and then take it home immediately. Over the years I have tried to embrace online shopping but I haven’t made much headway. However, I do realize there are some positives about the experience of shopping online and I’ve also found a few favorite sites.
Admitted Benefits of Online Shopping-
Ease- It certainly is simple and convenient. Just search for what you want, click and buy. Then wait (often only a day or two) for the item to arrive on your doorstep. No driving, no lines, never closed. Dreamy, really.
Selection- The selection is amazing! Brick and mortar stores can’t possibly stock the vast selection of merchandise that's available online. Retailers have the ability to offer a huge number of items in many sizes, colors and styles in their online stores…while only carrying a small sampling in the actual store.
Returns- It can be fairly simple to return something you purchase online. Be sure to read the fine print when ordering. I prefer to be able to return any online purchases to a local store. I find mailing a return back to the company is a hassle…maybe because I dread the post office. If returning to a local store is not an option, I make sure the company offers free shipping on returns. I don’t like the idea of having to pay to return something that doesn’t fit or that I just don’t love.
A few online stores that I like…
Amazon- While I don’t shop Amazon for wardrobe items, I’ve become fond of buying everyday items from this massive online retailer. I’m sure I’m very late to this party…but I am finally on-board. My last Amazon order included…a filter for my refrigerator, a filter for my humidifier, a 12 pack of Lip Medex, an egg slicer and two used paperback books. I love that I can shop for random, unrelated, necessary items all in one place.
Tobi- I only discovered this site because I have a 16 year old daughter. She purchased two dresses from Tobi as possibilities for last month’s homecoming dance. Both were lovely. Greta kept one and wore it for the dance. The other was returned. Free shipping. While I haven’t purchased anything from them for myself (the dresses and skirts are about a foot too short), I do think they have some interesting options at great prices. Like this moto-jacket for $68.00
J Crew and J Crew Factory- I just ordered a fantastic skirt online. It was $44. This skirt is not available at my local J Crew Outlet. It's a classic example of the wide selection available online, even for sale merchandise. The stores just can’t compete.
ThredUP – Resale. If you like to shop resale, this online site makes it super simple. No more weeding through the racks at your local consignment and thrift stores. ThredUP allows you to search for a specific item. Sell you own clothing to them and rack up credit to use online for purchases.
The Real Real - Another consignment site, except this one offers only luxury brands. Searching for something high-end at a resale price? This could be your spot!
Nordstrom - Okay, I might love buying shoes online…and Nordstrom is one of my favorite sites. Why? Because they have an extensive selection at a variety of price points and I can return anything that doesn’t work to my local mall. I’ve found some of my favorite shoes at Nordstrom online.
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I’ve found that one of the best ways to discover awesome online shopping sites is to ask around. Poll your Facebook friends for their favorite places to shop online and you are sure to find some great options you might have been missing…
I’d love to know where you shop and what you buy online. I’m determined to move a bit further into the current century:-)
Thanks for reading.
Stars can't shine without darkness....
If you read my post on Home Clothes, you won’t be surprised to know
that I have similar issues with what to wear at night. I’m always trying to improve my options for what to wear during that quiet time when only
my family sees me.
I must say, I am getting better in this category. Yet, I still struggle with settling for the least expensive, almost ‘love it’ option. My solution is to
limit the number of pieces and be sure to include only comfortable, flattering, ‘feel good’ items in all my future night clothes collections.
The people in our family deserve to see us looking nice, even in the late night and early morning hours. And…we deserve to feel great in what we wear during those more intimate times. No one outside of your family will ever see this capsule wardrobe. However, even though it’s reserved for you and the people under your roof, it still matters. Just like with the clothing you wear out in the real world, the items you wear as ‘night clothes’ can make you feel amazing or dumpy and frumpy. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for feeling amazing as often as possible.
In this category, remember to choose what feels best to you.
There are lots of great choices…
Classic menswear pajamas
Soft, comfortable long underwear
Loose, flowy, silk pj pants and a luxurious t-shirt
A lovely bathrobe
Search around online and in stores until you find a few pieces that you love. During my online research…a quick glance at Pinterest brought me to a Vogue UK article about Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The article mentioned a sleepwear line that Ms. Huntington-Whiteley has created
with the British department store, Marks and Spencer. I didn’t need to look beyond the photos included in the story to realize that I'd found my look. The pieces are equal parts comfortable, luxurious and sexy. Now granted,
I will never look like the incredibly beautiful Ms. Huntington-Whiteley…but if I wear night clothes that resemble the pieces in her collection…I am sure to feel gorgeous!
Create a collection of ‘night clothes’ that you feel fabulous wearing. Within my wardrobe, it’s this category more than any other that has the potential to make me feel beautiful.
Remember to pay attention to the proportions...
Combine a billowy, long knit top with lean leggings.
Add a pair of loose, flowy pants to a slim t-shirt.
Choose a bathrobe that is warm, but still creates a flattering line.
Have fun with this part of your wardrobe. Don’t neglect it…putting a little
effort into the night clothes category will do wonders for your self-esteem. I promise.
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I’d love to know how you make your night clothes work for you. I’m always looking for some new ideas! Thanks for sharing and for reading.
I can't believe it's already day 13 of the 31 Days- Writing Challenge.
Thanks so much for following along.
There were several strong topic options for the letter M. Ultimately, I decided to touch on three M’s that I feel are worth mentioning.
When it comes to wardrobes, mindfulness is a helpful tool. Practice being aware of what you are adding to your wardrobe and equally aware of what you are removing. This helps you to control the contents of your closet.
Pay attention to how you feel when you wear your clothing. Take note of the pieces that make you feel wonderful. What is it that you love about those things? Use that information to guide you when shopping.
The idea is to have a positive relationship with your clothes. Your wardrobe should support you and provide you with the elements you need to look great every day! Don’t settle for a closet full of clothes that you don’t enjoy wearing. Be mindful when making purchases. Be mindful when choosing what to wear. Getting dressed should be a pleasure.
Does any of the following sound familiar?...
You have way too much stuff in your closet. You know this and yet you continue to shop. You are tricked into thinking that buying new pieces will give you more options in your wardrobe. Yet, even with your overflowing closet, you continue to truly feel that you have nothing to wear. American women seem to become lost in this cycle. It doesn’t solve anything. It only brings guilt and despair…and wasted time and money.
Adopting a minimal attitude helps to cull the excess and bring you back to a closet that is functional because it contains only pieces that you love to wear. Start believing the idea that less is really more. Fewer pieces that you truly enjoy wearing are the way to go. Don’t be scared. Pare down.
It feels amazing. Honest.
Want to better understand what makes French women so chic?
Wondering how you can master that same elegant look?
Grab a copy of Lessons from Madame Chic –
20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott.
I love this book. It's filled with lessons learned while Ms. Scott was a foreign exchange student in Paris. She lovingly refers to her host mother as Madame Chic because of the stylish way she lives her life.
There are great tips to be taken away from this enjoyable book regardless of your age or lifestyle. I highly recommend it. I appreciated the glimpse it provides into why French women are so effortlessly stylish...and how you can be too!
"A guide for women who yearn to channel Audrey Tautou. . . . Personable, anecdote-filled, and studded with lifestyle tips . . . its vivacity and sincerity have struck a chord among women who would like a French role model of their own, but don't have a year to spend apprenticing with one in Paris."
—The New York Times
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I’d love to know your thoughts on any of the M's. Share comments below or email me at email@example.com
Thank you for reading.
Okay, please pay close attention. This topic is a game-changer.
When adding pieces to your wardrobe I believe one question stands out
as the most important to ask?
Do you LOVE it?
I work in retail and in closets. I help women build wardrobes. I give opinions on garments all day long. I am always honest and practical
when assisting women in the fitting room and in the home.
I always ask…Do you love it?
So many women (even me…when I sometimes forget this crucial step) make clothing purchases without exploring whether they really love the item they are buying.
I have a long-held belief that we should only buy things we truly love. I often see women buying clothing that they believe to be “almost…close…or fine”.
That is not the way to build a fabulous wardrobe. A fabulous wardrobe consists of pieces you absolutely love!
Ideally with no exceptions. None.
As some of you already know, I recently read
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This quick read is incredibly powerful and is indeed, life-changing. I was so taken with this book that I devoted several blog posts to the philosophy of Ms. Kondo.
You can read more about my journey here.
The basic concept of Ms. Kondo’s decluttering method comes down to asking yourself one simple question about what you choose to keep in
your wardrobe, in your home and ultimately in your life…
Does it spark joy?
If your answer is no…out it goes.
One of the easiest ways to cultivate a beautiful, efficient wardrobe that supports your lifestyle is to stop buying things you don’t love. This practice goes a long way towards keeping clutter from taking over your closet.
Five ways to LOVE your wardrobe:
1. Choose the best possible version for you right now. Loving an item doesn’t mean you can only choose the most expensive option. Sometimes there will be a piece on your ‘wish list’ that will be unattainable. Pick a comparable garment that you can really love until that wish list item can
be yours. A little side note: If you absolutely can’t imagine your life without the highest quality option…design a plan to acquire it.
Do you dream of wearing an Hermes belt? Develop a belt budget and
save until you can afford it.
You won’t be happy until you own a Chanel jacket? Start scouring ebay and boutique-style resale shops. Again, create a plan and make it happen.
2. Be discerning. Really consider every purchase. Here are some questions I ask myself when shopping…
Would I buy the item if it was full price? Would I be disappointed if I don’t purchase it and it’s gone if I return for it? Will I be super envious if I see it on someone else?
3. Protect your closet space. Don’t let anything that is less than amazing reside in your closet! A jam-packed closet does not give you more wardrobe options…if only causes wardrobe paralysis. You can’t make any decisions when you have way too much stuff! That’s why it always feels like you have nothing to wear.
4. Shop with intent. Before you shop, know what your wardrobe is missing. Make a list. Utilize the sales associates at the stores where you love to shop. Let them do their job and help you find just the right pieces. It’s instantly obvious when a customer absolutely loves what she's buying. She radiates an ‘I love this’ energy. Aim for that feeling with every purchase!
5. If you don’t love it, leave it. Continue your search. Hold out for the pieces that make you light up. Think about a piece in your current wardrobe that always makes you feel fantastic…expect that from all of your clothing. All of it.
It’s not hard. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It just requires a shift in thinking and a bit of patience. Building a wardrobe filled only with pieces you love is the ultimate goal…take your time. It will be so very worth it in the end.
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If you only take away one message from all 31 Days of Simple Style, this one is the most vital! Buy what you love and your wardrobe will improve.
Thank you so much for reading. Questions or comments are always welcome.
When it comes to tops, I always prefer knits. While I do believe in the power of a beautiful blouse…I’m usually more comfortable wearing a
t-shirt or a sweater.
Long ago, knits were reserved for hosiery and sweaters. In the 1920s Gabrielle Chanel began using knit jersey fabric in women’s wear. She was the first designer to use jersey, which at the time was used only for men’s underwear. This fabric presented a complete departure from what women’s clothing had been prior. It was simple, practical and comfortable. Mademoiselle Chanel chose knit jersey because it was inexpensive and draped well. No corset involved, just soft, easy-to-wear knit garments that revolutionized the way women dressed.
"I make fashion women can live in, breath in, feel comfortable in and look younger in," Chanel said. Thank you, Coco Chanel. I’m all in!
Most of the tops in my closet are knits- here's why...
Softness against my skin
Freedom to move in a fabric that stretches
Super packable, great for travel
Easy to wear for many occasions
A variety of different finishes and textures to choose from …waffle weave, classic jersey, slubbed, fine gauge, metallic etc.
Loads of different fiber combinations- cotton, wools, acrylics and silk…
can all be used to create amazing knitted fabrics.
Layer well for warmth and interest
If you already love knits...fist bump! However, if you usually wear blouses or shirts made from woven fabrics, I urge you to give a knit a try. Especially during the colder months since knits are perfect for keeping warm and cozy while still looking great.
You can create a ‘wardrobe’ of knit basics easily.
Essential knits to include in your wardrobe...
A few soft, thin camisoles or undershirts- in at least nude and black
Several t-shirts in colors you love, a combination of long and short sleeved
A yummy cardigan sweater in a neutral color that you can wear with other knit layering pieces
A comfortable, cozy pullover sweater- this one can be neutral or a color you love
Extras- a turtleneck, some tank tops, lightweight V-neck sweaters in cotton or wool.
All of the pieces listed above would work well with woven garments. Layer a knit camisole under a crisp shirt or pull on a snuggly cardigan over a silk blouse. Mixing textures creates interest. Incorporating a knit layer adds warms and comfort.
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Do you wear more knit or woven tops? How do you combine them?
I’d love to hear what works for you. Just comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for reading.
This might be my favorite day of the entire challenge! I love jackets.
By jackets I mean a structured layer that can be worn outside when it’s
mild and inside almost always.
I’m not sure when I developed my love of jackets. It’s been many years since I fell for the defined, classic lines of this wardrobe staple. The jacket
is a go-to garment for finishing an outfit. It’s the perfect layer to pull a look together with very little effort.
1. Black or navy blazer- I could limit this list to only the blazer because it can really be worn in place of the following three garments. However, for the sake of variety, I’ve included all four.
The blazer is magical. It can be worn with jeans just as easily as with a dress. It adds instant polish and sophistication. You can find a blazer at
any price point. They’re available everywhere….from Target and Old Navy to J Crew and Banana Republic. Search consignment and thrift stores…even the boy’s section of department stores. A great blazer should fit well through the shoulders and make you stand a bit taller…feeling empowered by its beautiful shape.
2. Leather jacket- I searched for the perfect leather jacket for years before finding it. A real leather jacket can be expensive and should be considered an investment piece. Be sure to choose one you absolutely love! I often found leather jackets that I liked, but something wasn't quite right. Then it happened. The perfect leather jacket appeared shortly before my birthday a few years ago. It has classic moto styling, it's comfortable and the best part is...it’s navy blue. I couldn’t love it more! I received it as a birthday gift. It was worth the wait.
Faux or vegan leather is a great alternative to real leather. Again, there are many stylish options available at every price. Many of the vegan fabrics can be machine washed, making them super practical. The technology
has improved so much that often when receive new ‘leather’ jackets at Anthropologie, I can only tell they are faux leather by checking the fabric content label or the price.
Choose one that’s comfortable and fits your level of moto-rocker-chic. Black and brown leather jackets look awesome on others, but never felt authentic on me…which is why I chose navy blue. Stick with a timeless design and a color that works with the rest of your wardrobe. A leather jacket is always right for those days when you want to express just a bit of badass-cool-chick.
3. Denim jacket- A timeless classic. The denim jacket is super for tossing over a dress or skirt and top when the sun goes down. It also works well in the fall and spring as a coat. I know the trend is to wear denim with denim, but I’m still more comfortable pairing a denim jacket with non-denim items. This garment just gets better with age. Wear it often to acquire that incredible broken-in softness.
4. Green military inspired jacket- I was late to this party. It seems that I saw this type of jacket on everyone, everywhere…but just didn’t think I needed to have it. Boy was I wrong. This is another wardrobe stable. The color and the styling are different than the other jackets listed here. This jacket is just as great with jeans as it is with a dress. Try on several, as some shades of green will be better than others. The military greens often range from very yellow to very blue. Choose one that is flattering with your skin tone.
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If you discover that you're a jacket junkie like me, go ahead and start a collection. I tried on a blue plaid blazer at Target last night. Didn’t buy it…but I just might:-) It was pretty fabulous with boyfriend jeans and a white
Do you love jackets? I'd love to know where you find your favorites.
Thanks for reading.
I believe every woman should have a style icon. It’s a bit like having a mentor for your wardrobe…only in most cases; you never actually meet this person. Instead, you study her style habits and put what you learn to work for you. I find that having a style icon helps me to get dressed and keeps me on track when shopping.
Let me explain.
My style icon is Ines de la Fressange. Although my icons do change, Ines has been at the top of my list for years. Her look appeals to me for several reasons...
She’s French. And I don’t really need another reason:-)
She is mature and still looks amazing.
As I get older, I find this makes imitating her style more realistic for me.
She dresses in classics and always looks refined and elegant.
Ines is not trendy, yet she always looks current and chic.
She wears the same quality pieces again and again.
Reminding me to purchase quality and wear it often.
My daughter will often remind me of my litmus test when considering an outfit or a new item for my wardrobe…
Would Ines wear it?
So find yourself a style icon. Pick someone who will challenge you to up your game a bit. That means no celebrities who are wearing sweats every time they appear in public. The idea is to select someone who helps you stretch to improve your style.
Stalk her on Pinterest. Create a board of her looks that you love.
What do you like about her style? How is it similar or different from your own?
Next time you get dressed; see if you can pick something from your closet that your style icon might wear. Have fun with it. Think of it like a grown-up version of dress up.
It’s fine to have more than one style icon. Most of us are drawn to several types of looks. Use these women as a starting point to fine tune your own style. I find that I make better wardrobe choices when I imagine Ines standing beside me offering her guidance.
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I’d love to hear who you choose as your style icon.
Thanks so much for reading.
What to wear at home? I've stuggled for years to upgrade the clothing
I wear at home. I even created a wardrobe challenge for myself.
I think this section of the wardrobe is difficult for many women, myself included. Home clothing is something of a lost, vague, undescribed category. It seems most women view it as unimportant.
However, it matters! What you wear at home has a direct effect on how you feel when you're at home. When we look great we tend to feel more positive and be more productive.
Here’s what I've taken away from numerous conversations with clients and friends…
Stay at home moms usually figure ‘why bother’…I’m just in my house with my kids all day. Who really cares?
Women with jobs outside the home are always ‘dressed for success’ in their work roles, but want to slip into the most comfortable option once they are finished at the office. Even if that option isn't the most attractive.
Women who work from home often feel it’s a luxury to take a conference call in their pjs, so they do. This can be the beginning of a habit that's difficult to break.
Yet, I think if we are honest…we’d all like to look better when we hang out at home for the day. Wouldn’t it be nice when the doorbell rings… to swing the door open with pride, knowing that you look put together and presentable?
If your son forgets his lunch and you need to run to school, how great would it be to dash out of the house already looking and feeling good? No stressing about putting on ‘real clothes’ or fixing yourself up before leaving.
It’s possible to look nice while spending the day at home…it only takes a bit of preparation and effort. Not much, I promise. You just need the right pieces in your wardrobe and maybe a slight change in mindset.
Think about the goal for your home clothes. What are the most important qualities?
Comfort- pick items that are loose enough to feel good in all day, yet still flattering. This is not the time for your most gigantic sweatpants. Fabrics should feel good against your skin. Nothing scratchy or itchy.
Cost- I hesitate to say this, because some garments should really be tossed…but I’m okay with sometimes downgrading pieces to wear in this category. Let's say that you have a few t-shirts, sweaters or pants that you love and they still look good, but aren’t what you would wear to work or out to lunch anymore. By all means turn them into ‘home clothes’. What you want to avoid is holding onto clothing that is past its prime and calling those garments ‘home clothes’. The goal is to feel fabulous when you are at home…those old, worn-out items won’t do it!
If you’ll be shopping for a few new things…check out Target, Old Navy, Forever 21…even Goodwill. You don't need to invest a huge amount in these outfits. The idea is to have a few reliable combinations that you can easily put on when you are spending time at home.
Easy care- It’s best if these garments can be tossd into the washing machine. Home tasks are often messy, like cooking, cleaning, planting, etc., so these clothes need to be easy to wash. Exception: a great cashmere hoodie or sweater that you wear many, many times before it needs to be cleaned.
Warmth- Heading into winter, you’ll need some layers in order to keep warm. Instead of turning up the heat, add a camisole or a scarf to your home outfits. Stylish and energy efficient.
Picture your ideal home outfit. Create one or two outfits in your mind that you would feel great wearing when you're hanging out at home. If you can’t visualize them…hop onto Pinterest and start searching.
If it helps, my home clothes ‘dream’ outfits look like this…
Soft comfortable jeans, simple t-shirt (clean and flattering) and a generously cut, super-snuggly cardigan sweater.
Easy-fitting black leggings with a very comfortable waistband, t-shirt
and a long, fluffy pull-over sweater.
Black socks – I only wear black socks. I buy them by the bag at Target.
No confusion on laundry day. I always have a matching pair. This step simplifies my routine.
Slippers- I buy the same pair of shearling slippers at Target every year. They are under $25, comfortable and nice looking…for slippers.
If you are a fan of The Fly Lady, you know that she suggests that you
'get dressed to shoes'. I find I’m good with slippers. While we aren’t a
‘no shoes’ household, I don’t love wearing my shoes my home. If you’d rather wear a pair of shoes, go for it! Do whatever works best for you
when creating your home style.
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What do you wear when you're hanging out at home?
I'd love some other ideas. Comment below or email me at email@example.com