style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
Today, I decided to feature my daughter Greta. She is sixteen years old
and a junior in high school. She has incredible personal style and writes her own blog about life and fashion.
I asked Greta if she would be willing to let me interview her for this post. Happily, she agreed.
Before I share the interview…I want to share a story about the history of Greta’s style.
Greta is my first child. She was an early talker and a delightfully precocious little girl. We often ran errands together. She had just turned three when one of our errands took us to Nordstrom Rack. We were looking at clothing for Greta and her younger brothers. Greta spied a coat on one of the racks. It was purple felt with orange buttons and a round collar. The shape was very reminiscent of the coat worn by the French character Madeline, of whom Greta was a huge fan. Greta quickly removed the coat from the rack and held it up to her body. Within seconds, she began to explain all of the reasons why she loved the coat. She finished with, ‘Mom, it can be my Errand Coat!”
Needless to say, I couldn’t resist her practical sales pitch. She wore that coat until it no longer fit. I realized thirteen years ago that Greta’s look is all her own. She has a keen eye for fashion and I believe it will always be one of her amazing gifts.
My interview with Greta-
Kristen- When did you first realize that you love fashion?
Greta -I first realized that I love fashion when you and Dad took me to
Irina Shabayeva's NYFW show when I was about 10 years old. Being in NYC along with everyone from the fashion industry was such a magical feeling, and I just knew it was my place. Since then I've educated myself about the industry and though I realize now it's not all champagne and New York Fashion Week (and I wouldn't want it to be) I still love that time of year!
K- High school girls often dress the same as their friends. Do you dress like your peers?
G- I definitely do not dress like my peers. Most of the girls who attend my school wear pieces that are more casual and often more revealing- they either dress for comfort or they dress for boys. I definitely have my own personal style that is very different.
K- How would you describe your style?
G- I would describe my style as classic with an urban twist- I love beautiful and classic pieces, but I love to add in urban, modern pieces as well.
K- Who is your style icon? Why?
G- My style icons are Olivia Palermo and Jenna Lyons- both embody the idea of classic with a twist, wearing simple, gorgeous pieces but always in
a new and exciting way.
K- What is your dream outfit?
G- My dream outfit (for everyday) is anything from J. Crew Collection...
For a big event, anything by Oscar de la Renta or Elie Saab.
Now a few questions about moms…
K- What's wrong with the way most moms dress?
G- I think a lot of moms 'give up' when they have kids and begin wearing comfy clothes that are easy to throw on and not think about. However, having kids is not equivalent to a loss of your identity and personal style! Dress for yourself.
K- How would you improve your own mother's style?
G- My mom's style is very similar to my own (stripes, pants, blazers and cute shoes) and I absolutely love it, but I would encourage her to take more risks with dresses and skirts- she never wears them!
K- What items should be in every woman's closet?
G- Every woman should have a plain white button down, a striped shirt, black skinny jeans, an amazing coat, a simple pair of flats or heels that go with everything, an event-ready dress, and a great bag.
K- How can moms help their daughters to look great without offending them?
G- Offer to take your daughter shopping! Casually hold up different pieces you like and say "This would look great on you, you should try it on!"
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What is it about a French woman’s style that makes her appear so chic?
It might be cliché, but French women do indeed have a j’ne se quois or
“a quality that cannot be described or named easily”.
They seem to look fantastic…always.
It all began with Coco Chanel. Mademoiselle Chanel took risks and broke rules. She caused a revolution by incorporating menswear into women’s fashion. She mixed menswear fabrics and cuts with feminine details like pearls, red lipstick and perfume. Coco Chanel was a pioneer. She changed women’s fashion forever.
Can we duplicate this sense of effortless style?
Oui! C'est possible.
5 ways bring a bit of French Chic to our closets:
1. Change our attitude- French women are confident in their wardrobe choices…or they fake it. Unlike most American women, the French don’t seem to care what others think of their outfits. They are comfortable in their own skin and in their clothing. That confidence is attractive and part of the reason we notice them in the first place. Confidence is beautiful.
2. Buy good quality classics- French women (and many of their European sisters) only purchase high-quality garments. They don’t do fast fashion. Their wardrobes are not filled with disposable, poorly made pieces. They hold themselves to a higher standard. They feel they deserve better. I find this is an issue for many of my clients. They don’t believe they are worth an item that is considered expensive even if they love it and can afford it. It is honestly so much better to save for an item that you absolutely love and then wear it for years…than to spend less on a piece that doesn’t thrill you and will barely last the season.
3. Choose solid, neutral colors- French girls dream in navy, black, camel and grey. These colors always play well together (yes, even navy and black). Rely on them for the foundation for your outfit. Invest in a few quality basics…a school-boy blazer, a simple cardigan, a leather jacket. Add interest with a printed scarf or a striped t-shirt.
4. Invest in a great pair of shoes- French women rock some incredible footwear. Again, they buy quality and it shows. They believe in adding
only well-made items to their intentionally curated wardrobes. Shoes are no exception. No cheap imitation brands. Why would they buy shoes that don’t feel great while strolling through Paris? They wouldn’t and neither should you! Stay away from crazy trends and choose comfortable, yet stylish shoes or boots.
5. Limit accessories- French girls wear very little jewelry. The pieces
they do wear are usually simple, delicate and real. In addition, they follow Chanel's rule: "Before you leave the house, take a look in the mirror and take one thing off." This helps to maintain a sense of understated style
that is très chic.
Want to try it?
Here’s a recipe for that
‘Oh, I just threw this together’ French look…
Your favorite jeans- rolled at the ankle
A classic white shirt –half tucked
Ballet flats or sexy heels
A red lip or a smoky eye
Finish the outfit with a blazer or cardigan and a scarf. Get ready to be mistaken for a French girl :-)
I’m forever trying to finesse my look to make it more French. I’m currently practicing my conversational French daily with the hope that if I can speak it fluently, I will also be fluent in French chic. We'll see...
When in doubt, ask yourself what a modern Coco Chanel would wear?
Any style Francophiles out there? I’d love to hear how you channel your inner French girl. Comment below or send me an email- email@example.com
Merci d'avoir lu.
The concept of ‘elevating’ within a wardrobe involves taking a basic garment and pairing it with something fancier in order to create a look that is both wearable and fabulous.
Mixing high and low elements is what gives a woman that ‘I don’t know how she does it’ style that is so often admired by others.
At the 1996 Academy Awards, Sharon Stone shocked the fashion world. She appeared on the red carpet wearing an incredible Valentino skirt, a velvet Armani blazer….and a black turtleneck from the Gap. Really! She crossed a line and made a mainstream mall item into a red carpet stunner!
She looked amazing! Never before had a celebrity so publicly paired such a basic, every day garment with couture pieces.
Two years later, Sharon Stone did it again. She paired a Vera Wang lilac maxi skirt with a classic white button-down shirt from Gap at the 1998 Oscars. These two ensembles remain excellent examples of the simplicity and appeal of elevated style.
Both Anthropologie and J Crew are masters at the art of elevated style. They understand the attraction of mixing the everyday with the amazing! A little bit of pizzazz can provide an outfit with the oomph it needs to become dynamite instead of just okay.
Here are 5 simple ways to elevate your everyday outfits…
Pair a fancy skirt with a t-shirt and flats.
Wear ripped jeans with a velvet blazer.
Add a sparkly, statement necklace to a plain sweater or blouse.
Rock some jeans and a sweatshirt with your party shoes.
Top a pretty dress with a leather or denim jacket.
Finish any outfit with a sequined scarf.
The trick is to keep the balance…one ‘special’ piece can elevate the simplest outfit. Try it!
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I love jeans!
Jeans have been around a long time. They've become a staple in most women's wardrobes. It’s important to have the right jeans in your closet.
Great jeans are a wardrobe workhorse.
A complete denim collection should include...
Classic 5 pocket shape with a straight leg
Choose a pair that fits and feels amazing. Pick a dark wash with little or no distressing. They can be dressed up for an evening out or worn with flats and booties for every day. Buy the best pair you can afford. They will be with you a long time.
Dark or medium wash. Choose a pair that really flatters your shape.
They must be comfortable. While they’re meant to be skinny and
figure-hugging, you don’t want them too tight and torturous to wear.
These are my personal favorite! Look for lightly distressed, with or without holes, whatever feels authentic to your style and is age appropriate. The cut should be a bit slouchy, but still sexy. Cuff or roll the hem to keep it modern.
Black or grey
Until recently, I didn’t own a pair of black jeans. I always loved them on other women, but felt like an imposter when I put them on. Black and grey denim seemed reserved for ‘edgier, sexier’ women. My mistake. I now own black jeans and wear them often. I feel a bit like a racier, more urban version of myself when I head out in black denim. I am thrilled to have them in my closet.
Grey denim has proved more difficult for me I really, really want to love a pair of grey jeans on me…but the truth is I don’t. I’m not sure exactly why, but I haven’t found a pair that feels like me...even though I’m continually drawn to them on other women. So for now, there are no grey jeans in my closet.
I believe in buying good quality, premium denim. If you wear your jeans often, the cost per wear works out to be very low over time. However, I
also have several pairs of amazing jeans that didn’t cost very much at all. Gap, H&M, even Old Navy can surprise you with some great jeans.
Finding a ‘favorite’ pair of jeans requires some effort on your part. Commit to actually doing the work. Expect to try on 10+ pairs
in order to find the perfect style for you. It will be so worth it!
Remember to stay true to yourself. Only purchase styles and colors
that make you feel fabulous. Jeans should be a ‘go to’ in your closet.
If you don’t love them you won’t wear them!
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For warmth, elegance and durability…I choose cashmere. Many women find wool, angora or some other animal fibers irritating to the skin…yet most can wear 100% cashmere with no problem.
The appeal of cashmere is in its incredible softness. We feel beautiful in cashmere because it feels so good to wear it. Cashmere comes from the soft undercoat of goats bred to produce wool. It requires the fibers from more than two goats (the goats aren't harmed to harvest the 'wool') to make a single two=ply sweater. Garments made from high-quality cashmere can be up to eight times warmer than sheep's wool. It's not surprising that cashmere is widely considered a luxury fabric.
Cashmere sweaters can be very expensive. I understand that clothing budgets often need to include lots of practical pieces and cashmere can seem like a splurge.
So, before you go out and buy an inexpensive alternative to 100% cashmere…l want to share where I’ve found some really great quality cashmere sweaters that are easier on the budget.
TJ Maxx and Marshalls- especially around the holidays, these retailers carry a nice selection of cashmere sweaters. They are usually folded on a Gift Ideas-type table near the front of the store since they make great gifts. These sweaters are well priced and usually good quality, most often $59-$89.
Department Stores- In the U.S., head to your nearest Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Dillards, etc. In Europe, visit Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, Marks & Spencer, El Cortes Ingles or the equivalent. You'll find big holiday displays of cashmere. There will most often be several classic styles offered at an approachable price point. Usually right around $100…sometimes even lower, especially if you shop during pre-season sales.
Consignment Shops- Spend some time culling the racks of a high-end resale shop. These stores can be treasure troves of donated cashmere. Check for moth holes and stains. If the garment looks and feels good…grab it! I love giving clothing a second life… a bonus for the environment and your wallet.
Request Cashmere- My father loves to give gifts. He's known to steer clear of what's on the wish list and instead prefers to give something he selects personally. Many years ago, he began the tradition of giving me a cashmere sweater for my December birthday. When I opened the first one, I didn’t know how much I would love owning and wearing cashmere. I have since come to eagerly anticipate the box that arrives in the mail just before my birthday. Maybe you have someone in your life who would be thrilled to help you build a cashmere collection:-)
And...I also have an incredible cashmere throw. It was a Christmas present from my husband many (maybe 10) years ago. I hadn't asked for it. When I opened it, I wasn't even sure if I would use it. Silly me. I can say now that it is one of THE BEST GIFTS I've ever received! I use it every day. All year long. Try to find someone wonderful who wants to buy you cashmere:-)
Or start smaller with a pair of cashmere socks, a scarf or cashmere lined gloves. All will feel like a snuggly hug on a cold day.
I'm currently wishing for a temperature change in my town. We are experiencing a beautiful, but very warm fall...not so good for tall boots and cashmere sweaters. I guess I'd better be careful what I wish for...it will be snowing soon!
Have a favorite cashmere story? I'd love to hear it...please share it below.
Thanks for reading.
Be You. Better.
We strive to improve ourselves in all areas of our lives. Our style should be no exception. I believe that having great style means wearing clothes that represent the best version of you.
Your clothing shouldn’t change you. The job of your wardrobe is to support you for every occasion- from quiet evenings at home to important meetings to black-tie events. Every outfit should make you feel like your very best self.
In order to achieve that… you need to be a bit brave. Don’t shy away from owning your look. Don’t apologize for your wardrobe choices if they are a bit bold or unsusual. Learn how to select the best items for your lifestyle and then make them work for you.
Follow trends in age appropriate ways. Go ahead; wear the season’s ‘it’ color or skirt length. Be sure it’s flattering, authentic and enhances the image you want to share with the world.
Inspire others by looking amazing.
It’s absolutely okay (even awesome) if you're the woman at the school event who stands out because you aren't wearing workout clothes.
Read a magazine or make a date with Pinterest to stay informed regarding what’s happening in the world of fashion.
Forget the notion that caring about what you wear is shallow and unnecessary. You must get dressed every day. Why not look great?
Why shouldn’t your clothing tell the world that you have your own authentic style and you’re not afraid to let it show?
A little effort goes a long way in your wardrobe. Try something unexpected. Combine two pieces in a new and different way.
Have a friend ‘shop your closet’ and create outfits for you.
Shake things up! Find your style and rock it!
There’s a reason that The Together Act’s tagline is Be You, Better.
I truly believe in the value of this stretch for each of us.
What are you waiting for?
Be you. Better.
Thanks for reading.
Welcome to the first day of my 31 Days- Writing Challenge.
This one’s easy for me. A is for Anthropologie. As a Personal Stylist for Anthropologie, this is the only way to begin my challenge.
Whether you’re a long-time Anthro customer or have yet to visit an Anthropologie, I want to share some of the reasons that I adore this incredible store.
For starters, Anthropologie feels a bit like home to me. The very first Anthropologie opened in the fall of 1992 in Wayne, Pennsylvania...right in my neighborhood. I remember the first time I was given a gift from Anthropologie. The box was finished with natural string and a small twig. Unusual, simple, beautiful...and inspiring.
This new store in an old car dealership was unique, in the best sense of the word. No one could quite put a finger on what made Anthropologie so different, but it was captivating. All these years later, the magic is still there. Anthropologie does retail with a special flair that I’ve not found anywhere else. I’m proud to be a part of the team.
What every woman should know about Anthropologie:
It's a great resource for denim- Pilcro and AG Stevie are two brands exclusive to Anthropologie. While AG is available in other stores, the Stevie is made just for Anthropologie. Each store carries a great selection of jeans, often including Mother, Paige, Citizens of Humanity and Level 99. Ask the PS or sales associates in your local store for help. They know the merchandise and will make finding the perfect pair a breeze!
The wax is amazing- The candles rock! I know this has more to do with our homes than wardrobes, but it’s worth mentioning...don't you want your closet to smell divine? The quality wax selection is reason enough to make Anthropologie a regular stop. Scents and containers change seasonally, but several fragrances are always available. Don’t know where to start? Pick up a Capri Blue candle in Volcano. A mini mercury glass candle is only $12. The scent is incredible.
Don't miss the show-stoppers- There is always the varied selection of appliqued sweaters, colorful scarves, statement necklaces, beautiful coats and party-ready dresses. Again, use the staff to help you find the perfect item.
Yes, they carry classics- While you might think of Anthro style as a bit quirky and whimsical, I can certainly vouch for the classics pieces that are available each season. Looking for more traditional, timeless styles? Check out Cartonnier, Moth, Level 99, Cloth and Stone or Maeve. You'll often find a well-edited collection of tailored blazers, blouses, pants and dresses.
The sale section is a special spot- Anthro’s sale area always holds some amazing treasures. Be willing to look and know how to stay informed. The sale racks can be a bit daunting! It might help to know that the racks are arranged by garment type (tops, pants, dresses, etc) and by color. Always ask if you don't see something you're hunting for...it might be in the stock room:-) Become an Anthro member or follow Anthropologie on social media. Pop-up sales are announced through email and on social sites. Promotional sales can sometimes save you an additional 30% or more off of sale prices!
Return Policy- It's one of the best in the business. Keep your receipt or have your purchases captured in the Anthro system. Need to return something? No questions asked. With your receipt or as an Anthro member, you'll always be refunded what you paid, how you paid. Easy!
Two Customer Service perks worth noting...
It's always free
No card to carry, only your phone number
15% off of one shopping trip during the month of your birthday!
Additional special events and promotions throughout the year.
No need to save your receipt- the Anthro system saves receipt (not credit card) info for easy returns.
Personal Styling Service-
Most larger Anthropologie stores have a Personal Stylist on staff. Anyone can make a complimentary appointment with her (or him). There is no obligation to buy. This service provides you with a scheduled appointment for one-on-one attention to find just what you are looking for... a dress for a special occasion? New jeans? A super top to wear with your favorite skirt? No problem. Try it out...I really think you'll love it!
Thank you for letting me share my passion for Anthropologie. I apologize if this post felt too long. I wanted to be sure to share the good stuff!
So glad you are along for this month of Simple Style.
Welcome! I'm so glad you're here.
Once again, I'm taking part in...
31 Days - a Writing Challenge
hosted by The Nesting Place blog.
My topic this year is Simple Style.
I’ll be using the A to Z approach for the next 31 days.
The posts will flow through the alphabet…each day a different letter and a different subject related to style.
I’ll also be including a few bonus extras since there are obviously only 26 letters:-)
I’m committed to delivering great tips and insider tricks daily. My goal is to offer nuggets that will help you cultivate great style. I’ll keep each post as brief and tight as possible, as I realize your days are busy and your time is valuable. I want every message to be really relevant to you and your wardrobe.
Every day, I'll add a link to each new post on the list below, but...
The easiest way to stay informed? Click here and I’ll deliver each post right to your inbox. Then you won’t miss a thing! You can unsubscribe at any time with just one click.
If you'd like more information about the challenge, you can find it at
31 Days- a writing challenge.
If you have any questions about the challenge or my posts, please contact me. Write a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m super excited! It all begins tomorrow!
Day One - A is for Anthropologie
Day Two - B is for Be You. Better
Day Three - C is for Cashmere
Day 4 - D is for Denim
Day 5 - E is for Elevate
Day 6 - F is for French Chic
Day 7 - G is for Greta
Day 8 - H is for Home 'Clothes
Day 9 - I is for Icon
Day 10 - J is for Jacket
Day 11 - K is for Knits
Day 12 - L is for Love It or Leave It
Day 13 - M is for Mindful, Minimal and Madame Chic
Day 14 - N is for Night Clothes
Day 15 - O is for Online Shopping
Day 16 - Bonus Day- An interview
Day 17 - P is for Pants
Day 18 - Q is for Quality
Day 19 - R is for Repeat
Day 20 - S is for Stripes
Day 21 - S is for Shoes
Day 22 - T is for Texture
Day 23 - U is for Uniform
Day 24 - V is for Vests
Day 25 - V is for Vithya - an interview
Day 26 - W is for Winter
Day 27 - X is for X-tras
Day 28 - Y is for Youthful
Day 29 - Z is for Zara
Day 30 - The Inspired Closet
Day 31 - Find Your Look & Live Your Life!