This is the first Journal post on my new revamped website!
As you may already know, The Together Act (website) and Excited Chills (blog) have merged. I recently refreshed my brand + business. This Journal is now part of the new site. (See below for more details on how to navigate the Journal.)
First off, THANK YOU for being here.
I know you have a huge pool of online content to choose from these days and I'm honored that you're choosing to spend time with me.
I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well during this bizarre, frightening, unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic situation.
I feel overwhelming gratitude for my family’s health and wellbeing. At the same time, my heart hurts for all the people who are truly suffering. With the future so unclear, I’ve been trying to simply embrace + enjoy this unexpected time with my big kids who wouldn’t ordinarily be at home right now. Though there are definite downsides, I see the silver lining, for sure.
Sheltering in place has provided an interesting pause in everyone’s normal. For me, that pause included not posting about style... because by mid-March, that topic began to feel unnecessary, irrelevant and even insensitive.
But I’ve missed writing.
I've missed having a fun place to put my attention. I've missed offering what I hope are helpful style + simplicity + mindset tips.
And I’m actually ready to think about clothing again.
Mid-March 2020. I think this was the last time I wore a real outfit!
This unprecedented Stay-At-Home phase has offered so many unusual opportunities to see things in a different light. My own thoughts and choices when it's time to get dressed each day have proven to be an interesting 'style study'.
Here’s what I’ve learned about my personal style during the past 8+ weeks...
I crave inspiration.
I miss seeing other women dressed in real clothes! I now realize how inspired I am by the women I work with both in closets + at Anthropologie.
I miss seeing beautiful clothing displays in stores. I'm not a huge shopper, yet I really enjoy the change of seasons as presented in an apparel retail environment. I miss the ever-changing Anthro displays.
I have been seeking some online inspiration. If this pandemic lasts much longer or I ever find myself in a SAH situation again, I'm definitely going to rethink my WFH style.
These two women seem to be doing quarantine-style right...
I've learned that I absolutely cannot (will not) work from home in uncomfortable clothes. As a general rule, I only buy clothing that is super comfortable. However, I'm discovering that my requirements for 'super comfortable' in my pre-COVID life are somewhat different than in my constantlowgradepanic, stayathome247 life.
In addition to basic comfort, I want a feeling of luxury. Soft, beautiful, cozy fabrics that make me feel nurtured. I want flattering, easy shapes that make me forget that I've been eating + drinking a bit more than normal. Think: comfort food. I currently crave comfort clothing.
Nothing tight, especially around the waist. TBH, I get a stomachache from any waistband that’s even a touch too snug. Is it just me?
Nothing itchy or scratchy. Or stiff or heavy.
Nothing fussy or flouncy. Who wants wet sleeves when washing dishes?
Too hot, too cold... just right.
Temperature control matters. Especially since we're all inside while the seasons change. At first I was dressing for winter, now spring, next summer. I've been relying on multiple layers to ensure that I can find that 'just right' temperature in every room of my home.
Scarves have been super helpful to take the chill off. And there's the added bonus of making me feel a tiny bit chic while I sit at my computer. I keep a scarf on the back of my chair to use casually drape around my neck as needed. C'est la vie.
I now realize that I’m perfectly comfortable wearing the same clothing for several days in a row (like until it's completely stretched out or I spill something on it;-). There's zero shame in being an outfit repeater. In fact, I find this actually makes my life easier by eliminating decision fatique when getting dressed in the morning. And it helps keep the laundry pile down.
My quarantine clothes are feeling a bit like I remember my maternity clothes feeling after two straight months of wearing the same few combos. I’m almost at the point of ‘if I never see these sweat pants again it will be too soon!’
I've realized that I don’t need much to feel comfortable and put together. Right now, the unworn clothing hanging in my closet seems excessive, almost frivolous. Shopping still feels unsafe. And what’s the hurry? I’m not sure when I’ll be going out again regularly + I already have plenty.
What I miss. (Strictly with regards to clothing. Obviously, I miss HUGS and restaurants!)
I miss blazers. Oh, I do miss blazers. I haven’t worn one in months because they don't fall into the comfort clothes category.
I miss my shoes! I've only worn slippers and sneakers for months. My shoes are lonely.
What I need. Nothing, honestly. But the first thing I’m buying when the mall reopens? New bras and panties! Staying at home for so long has made me aware of the sad state of my lingerie collection. I really do feel better on the days when I wear my prettier underwear. Time to uplevel my undergarments.
What’s helping you feel beautiful during these strange times?
What are you tired of wearing on repeat?
Please share! I love hearing what's happening in your world.
If you'd like to uplevel your stay-at-home style, I'm offering special online sessions to do just that! We'll work together to solve your wardrobe struggles and create new outfits using what you already own.
P.S. Vintage Blog Posts: You can still access past blog posts with the search bar above. Simply type the subject you’re curious about into the search bar and you’ll find a list of blog posts containing that subject. Click on the preview to be taken to the full post. Having trouble locating a vintage post, email me and I’ll help. firstname.lastname@example.org
Having an amazing collection of clothes requires some work. There are several steps to creating a wardrobe that functions effortlessly, helping you look fabulous every time you get dressed.
Many women assume that the most important part of the equation is where to buy the clothes. Actually, I don’t think this is true. I believe it’s possible to cultivate an incredible wardrobe from just about anywhere...Neiman Marcus to Goodwill.
I am regularly asked, ‘Where do you shop for clothing?’
My answer often comes as a surprise. I only shop in a limited number of stores. Why?
By limiting the number of stores, shopping takes less time and is less overwhelming.
Am I missing something amazing in one of the stores I don’t frequent? Possibly, but I’m okay with that. Too many choices is paralyzing for me. In the past, I became frozen when faced with endless options!
Fewer stores = less stress + a better wardrobe
As a general rule, I only shop in about nine stores for all of my wardrobe needs, including under garments and shoes. Nine.
Below you'll find my current list. Keep in mind that my list does change sometimes. I might seek out a new spot because of a change in lifestyle, budget or size/shape of my body. But for now, the following stores are my staples.
Nordstrom and DSW - for shoes I like good shoes. I only wear shoes that are very comfortable from the first step. I don’t want to spend a fortune on footwear. I like a flexible return policy, in case I have an issue with fit or quality after buying.
Old Navy, Target, H&M and Forever 21- for the basics I buy the bulk of my basics in these stores. For better or worse, they work for my current lifestyle and budget. I always look for the very best quality available in these fast-fashion spots. I consistently find items that will work with my existing wardrobe. The price points in these shops allows me to stay current each season while still having money left to buy the things my kids need for their wardrobes:-)
Anthropologie- for denim, blazers and interesting tops/sweaters This one may seem obvious since as an employee, I’m eligible for a discount. I am very thankful for my Anthro discount and it allows me to purchase items I honestly might not buy without it. However, I really only buy what I absolutely love. At any price. The items I choose to purchase at Anthropologie, I would purchase at full price even if I didn’t work there. I’m often surprised by the wide range of price points available at Anthropologie. Always check out the sale section. Often you’ll find beautiful garments for $39.95 and under.
Gap and Victoria’s Secret- for undies and bras I am a creature of habit with regards to underwear. I also don’t want to spend a fortune on undies and bras. I tend to buy the same panty in basic colors when there is a promotion. I love VS’s 7 for $25 deals!
Bras are tough for me. I’ve nursed three babies and I’ve been informed by those who fit women for bras that my ‘fullness is on the bottom’. That’s a nice way of saying I have ‘very small breasts that have sagged’.
I can usually count on finding good quality bras and panties at these two retailers.
If I find myself shopping for fun, I will occasionally check out what’s new in some other stores.
I’ve learned that the stores below don’t really work for either my body, style or budget, but I am inspired by their displays... Madewell J.Crew Neiman Marcus Intermix All Saints Small, hip boutiques
There are some women who buy almost everything for their wardrobe in one store. Those women often dislike shopping or have extreme brand loyalty. No problem. If that’s your way and it works for you, stick with it.
However, it seems that most women tend to spend exhaustive hours trolling their local malls and visiting many, many different stores. There is a definite FOMO that compels women to hit every store that could possibly carry something they might want to wear.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time or the energy for that approach.
I want to find great pieces and get on with my life!
So, I’ve edited the list of stores where I regularly shop. It’s a small, dependable handful that works for me. Only shopping in a few favorite stores, allows me to assess collections quickly and easily...purchasing only what I need and love.
Why create your own short list of favorite stores?
Saves time - This method beautifully limits the time you spend shopping because you aren’t roaming all over the mall, combing every rack in the entire place. There's simplicity in a tight selection of stores that you know carry pieces that work for you.
Saves money - You'll benefit from customer loyalty programs and discounts as well as early notification of sales. Fewer options means slighter chance of buying something you'll later regret. Stick with what you know and love.
Saves energy - It’s mentally exhausting to search through piles and rows of clothing to find a few great pieces. Having too many choices leads to decision fatigue...the very real problem of depleting your power to make a decision.
How to decide which stores to include in your list?
If you aren’t a seasoned shopper, you’ll need to be patient while you learn which stores are your best fit for lifestyle, budget and body type.
Look in your closet and evaluate your current wardrobe. Answer the following questions...
What are your favorite pieces?
Which pieces have the best shape/fit for your body?
What items don’t really work for you?
Which pieces aren’t very good quality/aren’t lasting?
Which garments gather the most compliments?
Next, note where you purchased the pieces you listed above. Most women notice a pattern…
All my coolest t-shirts came from:
The jeans that fit me best are from:
Garments that aren’t holding up so well are from:
My most comfortable clothings/shoes are all from:
Your answers will be the beginning of your very own... Short List of Favorite Stores!
Final tip- Still building your Short List? Use what you've learned through the exercise above to streamline your next shopping trip. Start by shopping in your go-to stores first.
If you’re not finding everything you need, check out one additional store. Not every store in the mall, just one. Become familiar with what that 'extra' store offers and how their merchandise works for you. Then, decide if it makes your list.
Don't worry. No spoilers here, but House of Cards on Netflix? Wow! My husband and I recently finished the final episode of Season 4. We tried to stretch it out as far as possible...really, we did! Yet, we didn’t even make 30 days. This season was just too good! If you don’t already watch House of Cards…cross your fingers for a string of rainy days or a bad cold so you can curl up with Netflix and partake in our current culture’s mysterious pastime…binge watching! You won’t be sorry…but you also won’t accomplish much until you finish all four seasons. I warned you…
I have always enjoyed Robin Wright and her work. I faithfully watched the soap opera Santa Barbara in the 1980s and loved her as Kelly Capwell.
It seems Robin Wright continues to grow more graceful and beautiful with age.
She is cool and stylish.
Her character on House of Cards…Claire Underwood…is pure genius. Elegant, chic, poised, stunning, sharp and sexy.
Much like binge watching, another topic that's almost impossible to ignore is the constant buzz surrounding Marie Kondo’s guidelines for tidying up our lives.
Magazines, blogs, news stories, friends and family members are chiming in on the merits of putting the KonMari Method to work in all areas of our lives.
I believe in the classics. I embrace a traditional, tailored, timeless style. The khaki pant is a classic…but it’s often difficult to make this age-old trouser look cool. What is khaki? According to Merriam-Webster it's a "dull, yellowish-brown cloth made usually of cotton or wool and used especially for military uniforms; commonly pants"…sounds uber chic, huh?
I’ve worn khakis since high school. I've always appreciated their utilitarian vibe and durability. As a teen in the eighties, khakis were readily accepted as a key piece in a preppy-inspired wardrobe.
Ines de la Fressange wearing khakis...they must be cool!
Over the years, khakis began to get a really bum rap. Nerdy, stiff, masculine and unflattering…not the look sought after by most hip women.
I want to defend khaki pants! There are ways to wear them without slipping over to the un-stylish dark side.
Wear them with white or black- Clean, modern and sophisticated.
Choose your version- tailored and slim or slouchy and distressed. Either can work; just pick the shape most flattering to your body and complementary to the rest of your wardrobe.
Elevate them- Think J Crew. Add a fancy necklace and some great heels. Khakis go on dates and out to dinner, beautifully.
Add light blue- Chambray or powder blue oxford cloth...gorgeous with khaki! So fresh and classic.
Dress 'em down- Lazy, slouchy, boyfriend vibe. Pull on a favorite conversation tee or sweatshirt… with a stylish pair of kicks. Farmers’ Market? Coffee Shop? Yes!
Handle the hem- Cuff or roll the bottom to keep the look modern and youthful. Show some ankle!
Pick your best color- Khaki pants come in a variety of similar shades. Some are more brown, others stone-like and some almost white…choose a pair that will coordinate well with the colors in your wardrobe. Regarding khaki, seems most women have a strong preference for one particular hue. Find yours.
Are you starting to see it? Pretty chic, don't you think?
If you already own a pair of khakis...dig them out! Play around with some new ways to wear them and go rock those classic pants!
Need a pair? Easy. Khakis are available almost everywhere at every price point.
Week Two Recap...delayed by the chaos of moving! I had the crazy notion that moving would not interfere with my posting schedule. What was I thinking? Moving is an all-in, full-time, hands-on endeavor...one that requires more mental and physical effort than I originally recalled. Silly me.
While the tasks required for moving might temporarily interrupt my blogging schedule, I remain committed to wearing everything I own. I'm learning quite a bit about my wardrobe habits as I work through my closet. The second week was enlightening...I'm excited to share what I've learned. I apologize for keeping you waiting:-)
I promise to continue sharing what I discover along the way. Hopefully, we can all benefit from this little experiment.
The goal is to have a closet filled only with pieces you absolutely LOVE!
I ask for your patience over the next few weeks. I plan to resume a regular schedule again as quickly as possible! Right now, I'm off to pack some boxes...and remind myself to keep breathing;-)
Change is in the air...On January 1st, I decided it was time to fix the areas of my life that aren’t working very well. One such area is my closet. Yes, embarrassingly…my very own closet needs help! My current issue?
I have too much clothing that I’m not wearing. So...I challenged myself to wear it all.
The process is simple…commit to wearing every single piece of clothing in my entire wardrobe. Take photos and keep notes and at the end, decide what stays and what goes.
I must say, this is proving to be a rather interesting study.
Here's the video recap which includes the actual outfits worn this week.
What I’ve discovered so far:
1. The first week was easy. I could mainly just wear the clothing I already know I love. Though, I did force myself to choose a few pieces that haven’t seen the light of day in quite some time.
2. I have several pieces that I once really loved, but don’t anymore. I think they made it through the KonMari tidying process since they do spark joy when I hold them. That’s probably because I once loved them. I’m feeling that it might be time to thank those pieces and let them go.
3. I tend to ‘save’ favorite pieces for special days or occasions. These items aren’t dressy or fancy. Though they are often better quality, more luxurious or I just LOVE them more than the clothing I wear regularly. The problem with this method of ‘hoarding the good stuff' is that after a while, the pieces lose their shine…even if they've just hung in my closet. I’d be much better off to wear every piece immediately after purchasing…and make every day a special occasion!
4. I have more tops than I originally thought. I have lots of tops that are very similar. I didn’t realize how many tops I have compared to bottoms. I’m sure that several tops will be discarded/donated at the end of this experiment.
Big light bulb moment... 5. My whole wardrobe should take a lesson from my denim collection. I only own denim that I truly love. This item of clothing is easy for me to select. I only pick jeans that are comfortable and flattering. Interestingly, I'm more willing to invest money in denim than in any other clothing category. I tend to look for bargains in other areas, but I’m willing to spend more on great denim. Maybe it’s time to apply this method to tops, shoes and other clothing. Seems I’d probably end up with a wardrobe full of pieces that I really love wearing!
6. For the first time ever, I’m very intrigued by the thought of creating a true Capsule Wardrobe. Not ready yet…but I’m heading in that direction. I think I’ll know for sure at the end of this challenge:-)
A side note: I currently work with private clients at a distance, but many women have been asking how they can work with The Together Act remotely and affordably. I decided it’s time to offer an online workshop.
Next month, I'll be releasing my Wake-Up Your Wardrobe Workshop. For years, I've guided my one-on-one clients through the process taught in this workshop. It's simple and effective. It will change the way you look at your wardrobe! Getting dressed will be fun!
The 3-day online workshop will help you identify your authentic style and teach you how to create amazing outfits with what you already own. Outfits that support your lifestyle and reflect the image you want to present to the world. More info to come...
I’ve made a decision. It’s time to make some radical changes in a few areas of my life. I’ve recently celebrated a birthday (a BIG one) and it’s a new calendar year. I’m more determined than ever to fix what’s bugging me. Life is short and long at the same time. I want more peace and more joy. Watch out 2016, I plan to find both on your watch!
First things first. My closet needs work. Let’s remember that I'm a Personal Stylist. My job is to help women create fantastic wardrobes that fully support their lifestyles. I am very good at doing just that…for other women:-)
If I’m completely honest, I sometimes don’t follow my own advice. This always proves foolish because then I end up with...
we can say it together...
“A closet full of clothing and nothing to wear!”
So, I’m turning my attention to my own closet.
Note: As many of you know, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo about 6 months ago. I immediately proceeded to use the KonMari Method of decluttering in every room of my house. Half a year later, there are many areas/categories that still look amazing! I’m thrilled with how well we've managed to keep the flow going and the spaces orderly!
My closet has remained extremely organized. The KonMari folding method has been a game-changer and my wardrobe looks great. Here’s the problem…
I’ve noticed that I have lots of clothing that I don’t ever reach for when getting dressed. This shouldn’t be the case. I kept only what ‘sparks joy’ when I did my KonMari decluttering for clothing.
Why am I not wearing and loving everything in my closet?
I’m about to find out.
I am fulling committed to wearing every single garment in my closet.
I want to move through this experiment as quickly as possible, so I’ll focus on not wearing pieces more than once. However, I have a lot more tops than bottoms. As a result, I will have to wear jeans and pants repeatedly while I work though all of my tops. Same with shoes and accessories…those will be worn many times to make outfits with all of the tops.
The only two categories I will skip over are Formal Wear – really dressy dresses, shoes & accessories and Out of Season Clothing – I missed a few pieces when I packed up my summer clothes. If I can’t currently wear it, it shouldn't be in my closet. Here’s my plan: I will wear each piece of clothing!
Check out the video for the method I’m using to separate what’s been worn from the rest.
I’m not sure how long this project will take…probably four or five weeks.
Each week, I'll recap what I’ve worn and how I’m feeling about the pieces. I'll share what stays and what goes. And how I plan to avoid this problem in the future!
Once I’ve worked through my entire wardrobe…I plan to do some ruthless editing.
I’ve been resisting the concept of a capsule wardrobe, but this experiment might just change my mind…
It's almost Thanksgiving. That yummy Thursday in November when Americans observe the harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621.
Modern Thanksgiving is an interesting mix of wonderful traditions shared with family and friends. The bulk of the festivities tend to center around a large, special feast. Usually, the rest of the day includes a combination of parade viewing, football (playing or watching), napping and the recently added trend of way-too-'early-bird' holiday shopping!
As a side note: my advice is to stay home and savor the slowness of this unique holiday. Get a good night's sleep...and storm the stores at dawn on Black Friday instead:-)
Thanksgiving is a day when you may visit with dear friends and seldom-seen family members. It's a day when you want to look your best...but often have a huge list of things to do! If you're not hosting, you might face a long day of travel before you arrive at your destination.
Given all of the 'stuff' that goes along with Thanksgiving, it can be challenging to pick the right outfit.
Are you wondering what to wear?
Let's break it down and make it easy as pie.
My tips for looking and feeling great on Turkey Day:
1. Comfort! This is the most important factor when getting dressed for this holiday. Whether you'll be in your own home or someone else's... (or even in a restaurant) wear something comfortable. Why? Because it's a day to be cozy and at ease. Thanksgiving Day is all about family and friends... chilling together. And...it's centers around eating a huge meal!
Tight clothing has no place at this gathering. Opt for loose or stretchy garments that will be forgiving after a slice (or two) of pumpkin pie.
2. Layers- Be sure to dress in layers. You could easily find yourself dealing with several different 'climates' during the day. Outside, it can be quite cold on Thanksgiving in many areas of the country. Inside, well, the oven's been on all day...the house is full of people and there could likely be a fire roaring in the fireplace. All of a sudden you'll be roasting! If your only layer is a super chunky, wool sweater, you might wish you could borrow a t-shirt from the hostess or eat your dinner on the deck.
On top: Opt for layering pieces so that your outfit still looks great even if you overheat and need to remove a few items. Think blouse or even sleeveless top with a simple necklace. Then add a sweater, blazer or vest. Finish with a scarf!
On bottom: Go for stretch. If your skinny jeans are super comfortable...wear them. If not, choose a pair of soft trousers, boyfriend jeans or corduroys. A top that falls below your waistband can be a life-saver when it's time to unbutton your pants:-)
Dresses and tunics: Great choice for Thanksgiving. Put on an easy dress or stylish tunic paired with tights/leggings and boots. Perfect for the day ahead. Just remember to have an extra layer handy...a scarf or sweater will give you some temperature wiggle room.
3. Autumnal colors- This is kind of your last chance to rock the fall colors. As soon as the clock strikes midnight... the holiday season will begin! Browns, oranges and deep berry tones will give way to serious sparkle and shine for the month of December.
So, if you have a favorite 'fall' piece...wear it for Thanksgiving.
4. Clean, pretty socks- Increasingly, I find that many homes are becoming 'shoe free' zones. Be sure to wear a pair of socks that you're proud to show off in case your hostess prefers that you leave your shoes by the front door.
I am beyond blessed and grateful for all of you who take the time to read my words here. Thank you from the bottom of my very full heart.
Wishing you safe travels, good conversation, real laughter and plentiful, delicious dining.
And if you're venturing out to shop on Black Friday...please be patient with those of us who work retail:-) It's a crazy day and we promise to do the best we can to make it fun for you! I'll be Personal Styling at Anthropologie...can't wait!
Sleep Clothes or Night Clothes…as I’ve confessed before, have always been a difficult wardrobe category for me. The thought of investing a lot of money on clothing that I'll never wear in the ‘real world’ always seemed excessive to me. So, instead I didn’t invest any money (or much thought) in what I wore at home. I was envious of movie characters who looked elegant and relaxed in their cozy robes and well-matched pajamas. I always felt like I could do better, but didn't.
The resulting outfits? Combinations of downgraded, demoted regular clothing that took on the role of ‘sleep clothes’.
How did I look? Like I was wearing old, past-it's-prime clothing. Not very attractive.
How did I feel? Frumpy and dumpy.
Now, please understand that I’ve been helping my clients create beautiful, functional sleepwear collections for years! I was fully aware how much better I'd look and feel if I would just break down and buy some decent pajamas! I was stuck...looking less than fabulous.
I’m proud to say that I’ve finally created a small wardrobe of sleep clothing that I feel great wearing. I now feel ‘put together’ when I’m chilling in the evening and early morning with my family.
In the video below, I'll walk you through how I created a sleep capsule and share what’s currently included in mine.
My advice? Don’t neglect your sleep wardrobe. It’s shocking how much better you'll feel when your pajamas and robe are coordinated, flattering and comfortable.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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:-)
Let’s see… 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 super chic!
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.
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.
Lauren Hutton- Youthful at 71
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 outer garment.
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.
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.
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.
What? 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.
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?
Booties- 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.
Flats- 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.
Brogues- 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.
Classic heels- 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.
Tall boots- 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.
Converse- 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?
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...email@example.com xo Kristen
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!
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.
This incredible Chanel jacket would be on constant repeat in my wardrobe!
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.
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. Xo Kristen
qual·i·ty 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. Keep following along on the 31 Days of Simple Style. Click here to be included in the weekly updates.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to know your thoughts on quality. How do you decide what pieces to purchase for your wardrobe? xo Kristen
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.
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… Robin Federiconi, Loro Piana Brand Ambassador and Personal Stylist.
I asked Robin to tell us a bit about her background…
Robin: 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?
Robin: 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?
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.
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.
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:-)