Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Roundup: Romantic, Summery, Festival-Inspired

Friday Roundup: Romantic, Summery, Festival-Inspired

Gah, Urban Outfitters has the most beautiful, romantic, let's-go-to-Coachella pieces right now. If I had a smaller chest, I'd be buying several of their bra tops to wear under big, loose tshirts and tanks this summer.

Also? I'm in love with this trapeze dress in white and am currently figuring out where I can wear it to justify buying it. Things that come to mind are a trip to Thailand, Mexico, or a boho wedding. All invitations for those trips are very welcome! It was even better in person, and here's my iPhone shot.

In a similar realm of the imaginary, this cuff is incredible. If you're looking for a statement piece this summer, this should be it.

Much more affordable, but still gorgeous, is this stack of bangles.

Pair the bangles with this stunning red top. 

Or, there's nothing wrong with a little romper that will keep you cool in the warm summer sun. I'm really into those little pom poms!

This mint one is also fun!

Looking for a longer jumpsuit that will keep your legs covered in the sun? This one is my pick by far.

Oh! And these aren't sponsors, nor am I saying that anyone needs to go out and spend this kind of money on what is likely limited to a weekend summer style. However, I've seen a lot of similar looks at TJMaxx, Marshalls, etc. this spring so if you love something here, go hunting for it! If you want help finding a similar look, shoot me an email!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How to Make Mad Men Modern

I had a reader friend ask me a question the other day that really got me thinking: how can she make Mad Men-inspired fashion modern? For those unfamiliar with the show, it has so far focused on vintage looks with high waists, covered arms, and curve-hugging dresses. It's a fun style to play with because it's very flattering for curvy shapes while at the same time being fairly covered up. That makes it appropriate for a wide variety of settings, including work and date nights!

Here's my take on how to bring that Mad Men flair into the modern age.

Play with Unexpected Color

Take a classic shape, like a full skirt and a cropped jacket, but play with color. Try something from your closet that's the brightest thing you can see, and then build an outfit around it. Here, the skirts are the stars of the show, and the pieces they're paired with are much more modern in fit and color.



Add an Edgy Touch to a Classic Shape


Pick a sweet, vintage piece and then add edgy touches to it. For example, the high waist and full skirt on the denim dress are right out of the Mad Men pages, but the denim is unexpected. Then, the long-sleeved shirt underneath brings it a skater-ish, edgy vibe. I love it.

Or, take a cue from the image above and pair a lace dress with a short, tough moto jacket and leopard accessories.

Play with Vintage Shapes, but Stick with Black

Or, ignore everything I said above about color and just stick with black. There's something that always reads as tough and modern about black, and it can really offset the covered-up feeling of a vintage shape.



Keep the accessories simple and the heels high. And also, keep those shoulders back! One thing about women in Mad Men is that they have great posture, which reads as very body proud. How modern of them!

Oh, and Don't Shy Away from '70s Inspiration



Take a tip from the next decade to appear on the show and reach back into the '70s. However, use some of the tips above to ensure that it doesn't read as a costume. Using bright colors, touches of edginess, and mixed patterns will help you to modernize this decade's bellbottoms, high-waisted shorts, and full bell sleeves. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wide Summer Shoes that Are Actually Cute

Wide Summer Shoes that Are Actually Cute

Here's the thing: it took me way too long to realize that I actually have wide feet. You see, compared to a couple members of my family, I don't have super wide feet. I thought, relatively, that I could wear anything. I also thought that blisters, hurt toes, and pinching were all normal. Come to find out, they're not. Thus began my search for medium to wide width shoes that didn't feel too clunky, dated, or, frankly, sad.

For spring and summer, I think I've found a few good pairs that are versatile, comfortable, stylish, and, yes, wide(r). If you have any that you love, PLEASE post about them in the comments! I'm always on the lookout.

Casual but Subtle

I actually purchased the Lucky Brand sandals above after seeing them in a different color on my client, Girls in the Garden. Based on the comments from other purchasers, I went down from my usual half size to the next lowest full size. I buy shoes often from Zappos because I can search by wide width, there are lots of reviews of the shoes, and I can ship them back for free when they don't work.

If they fit, I plan to wear these shoes casually with dresses (I don't wear heels with a maxi dress, but a wedge is easier) and cropped pants casually and maybe even to work. As I've mentioned before, I need to dress much more conservatively in the office, but I think these shoes could be a nice way to bring some personality to the office. We'll see about those grommets when they arrive-they might read too casual along with the cork.

Looking for something even saucier? Try these and send me a picture of them!

Very Casual and Bright

On the other hand, I also bought these very casual sandals. I would usually shy away from that band across my toe bed because it tends to be too tight, but I have loved the width of Rocket Dog brand for years, and I think it might be ok. These are a cheaper shoe, and I anticipate they'll last me one season, but that's ok.

I love the idea of this bright yellow with summer's navy, white, and coral.

Speaking of flat, bright shoes, I love these. That's right, I love an Easy Spirit shoe!

I have several pair of flat, comfortable, washable shoes like these that I keep near my door since walking the dogs means that I need to be ready for all kinds of adventures at a moment's notice! I used to live in bright, casual sneakers when I taught elementary school because they're so comfortable. If you're looking to spend a little more but get a better-made shoe, try a Keen. I love these!

They come in M width and lots of bright colors, too. If you're more of a loafer lover, I think these little blue guys are cute.

Wedges You Can Walk In

A combination of height plus bright is this fun sandal by Fitzwell, another favorite wide width brand.

I like the slightly sporty look of the orange and the ankle band. If you're someone who wears a lot of cropped jeans or capris, these would really pop against a darker jean.

Want something less sporty but with a similar casual wedge?  These are a good choice.

Peep Toes That Don't Pinch

I love the look of a peep toe, but my poor toes have gotten ripped up by too-tight-shoes more times than I can count. I love the idea of a comfortable peep toe, and I think this just might be it. LifeStride, of course, makes really comfortable shoes, and I think the wedge here isn't so high that it will force your foot down into the toe opening. 

These cuties come in black, too. I wish they came in red or something without such a big braid on the wedge, but they're still adorable!

Dressier but Still Fun

 I always thought that flats would be easier to fit wider feet in, but I have literally thrown out so many flats lately that just hurt my feet. These above come in M and W widths, two neutrals, and two prints. Sounds like a good choice to me! I know they're boring, but I'd actually get the neutral here because it lengthens my legs, which is good with a flat, but I do covet those patterned ones!

If you're wanting a pattern, I love these bright, happy Keens.

P.S. Zappos isn't a sponsor. I just like the free shipping both ways and the selection.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Client Review: The Crowned Goat

Client Review: The Crowned Goat

I had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite bloggers a few weeks ago, CoCo from The Crowned Goat. If you don't know her blog, you absolutely need to check it out! She has incredible taste and is also one of the nicest people ever. She got a session with me for her mother's Christmas gift, and we finally had the chance to sit down "together." Well, via FaceTime. Here's a snippet of what she had to say. Please link through to the full post because CoCo did a number on her mother's closet after our time together, and the result is enviable!
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of working with Ella at Start CloseIn. I contacted Ella back in November to help me with a Christmas gift for my Mom. My Mom has great style, loads of chunky jewelry and plenty of shoes from which to choose. But on any given day she’s attending ladies luncheons, church meetings, military functions, family events, dinners with her sorority sisters or making ice cream with the grandkids. It is because her schedule is so packed she needed help transitioning from day to night activities with ease. Enter Ella to give her practical advice on how to best achieve these goals. 

cloths on rack

As soon as we began the styling session, we noticed the closet needed more organization. It wasn't a mess by any means but it needed to be more a functional space. Ella suggested we group shirts, pants, skirts and dresses all by color. It immediately made a big impact because the clothes were much easier to access. Read the rest here!

Make Mad Men Modern: A Loft Skirt Preview

Make Mad Men Modern: A Loft Skirt Preview

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen the striped linen skirt that I got yesterday  at Loft during my lunch hour (for 40% off!). Tomorrow I'll be answering a friend's question about how to wear a "Mad Men" look without feeling too costume-y. While putting together options for how to wear this skirt on Tuesday, I realized that I was putting some of my tips for a modern Mad Men into action.

Sorry for the bathroom selfies-my husband was still working last night and unavailable to take photos of me. 

At first, I imagined that the tomato red cardigan on top would be the perfect fit with the nautical striped skirt. I got that cardigan around Christmas, and in my mind it's been stuck as a winter sweater. I wanted a way to bring it into spring, and my office was freezing today so I thought it could work. However, it felt too much like a literal interpretation of a vintage look for my preferences.

On the other hand, the bright chartreuse cardigan on the bottom did just what I wanted: the full, high-waisted skirt is a nod to vintage but feels modern with a v-neck t-shirt and unexpected color. Oh-and I also put on a better bra for the bottom shot since the one I was wearing on top was feeling a bit droopy. I didn't go for the pointed Mad Men style, though, since that should be saved for Halloween only!

What do you think? I can't wait to show off some modern Mad Men looks later this week!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Summer Dressing for Petites: Five Under $50

Summer Dressing for Petites: Five Under $50

When I go virtual shopping for you all, I try to think about my clients. I have many clients of different ages, shapes, heights, and lifestyles, and so I'm always on the hunt for items that will fit your needs. Recently I realized that I have neglected my petite readers for awhile so today's post is dedicated to universal styles with an eye toward places that carry good fitting petite clothing. For the rest of us, keep reading! I've linked up to some items that we can all look out for.

1. Printed Shorts

I had a pair of Banana Republic shorts like the draped pair above once, and they lasted for about eight years through bike rides, beach trips, and probably to work in the retail world. Banana is a good choice for many women because they offer various lengths and sizes 0-16. Also, they're not under $50 unless they're on sale, but their jeans are incredibly flattering. My mom (who is under the 5'4" petite length cutoff although she'll tell you that she's not!) recently got a pair and sent me several text messages about them! That's a red letter day! 

2. A Hi-Lo Where Everywhere Tank

Anthropologie's Jasper Henley Tank is longer in the back, works with a regular bra, and comes in a universally flattering coral/orange. This is instant cool in a shirt. Perfect for women who regularly wear jeans and a t-shirt but want to upgrade the t-shirt. Try this short sleeved version. Both available in petite sizing that keeps the proportions right.

3. A Straw Hat

Panama hats have been trendy for a few years, and this might be their last summer. I wouldn't recommend that you run out to buy one from JCrew for $58, for example. 
 But from Target for $12.74? I say go for it! Quick tip is to buy straw hats from the men's department. Check out stores like Target, Marshalls, Sears, etc. for great men's hats that are roomy enough to allow for the heat and skip the flowered bands that many women's hats seem to have lately. For petites, this may seem counter intuitive, but lots of the small men's sizes don't sell out and end up at discount stores. Perfect for those of us with small heads! While you're at Target, nab a straw fedora, too.

 4. A Beautiful Necklace that Goes with Everything

Etsy has some incredible jewelry, and Yokoo is no exception. Her styling is very high fashion, but her pieces, like this Five Moons Necklace, is actually very versatile and would nicely dress up a simple sundress or even cropped jeans and a tank. Simpler necklaces are coming back again (how many statements can one person make, after all?), but don't sacrifice beauty for simplicity! Try something like this incredible raw crystal necklace for a sweet, but still gorgeous, statement.

5. A Simple Dress to Fancy Up or Casual Down

In the summer, I mostly only want to wear dresses. For petites, the proportions can be tricky because some places just cut off inches from the bottom and claim it's a petite. Loft has done more thinking than that and takes into consideration a petite woman's waist line. Imagine that! I like this simple dress to wear with sneakers during the day and a wedge sandal at night.

For everyone moving into the summer months, petite or not, this is a good list of items to pack for a weekend trip! Add a favorite bathing suit, and you can mix and match for anything that comes your way!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Inspired By Joy the Baker

Inspired By Joy the Baker

Happy Friday afternoon. Ready for a little snack?

Espresso, Almond, and Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Pudding Cups.  I mean...come ON! Could anything sound more delicious if it tried?! No, Joy the Baker, no, it could not. Over here, though, I can't digest dairy, and I might actually bound through the ceiling like a cartoon character if I had espresso. So eating these is not in my future, although that doesn't stop me from making them and serving them to guests in my voyeuristic way.

Fun Personal Styling Session with Ella of Start Close In

Ok, guys, a client just posted the most fun review of a virtual personal styling session with me. I do a lot of virtual sessions, but I don't always get pictures as a result. Cecilia went above and beyond, asking her husband to snap pictures of many of the outfits we put together. I can't tell you how much fun I had with this session because Cecilia is a free spirited, creative, warm, sweet-as-can-be artist who loves color and isn't afraid to take risks! (Also, her incredible figure was so fun to show off.) I hope you click over to her blog to read the rest of her post! I think the smile on her face in this maxi dress outfit says it all. She had fun, too! -Ella

Fun Personal Styling Session with Ella of Start Close In

I just had the most fun I've had in a long time! I did a wardrobe style with Ella at Start Close In. I found her when Miss Mustard Seed posted about her session with her. (Read about it here and here). I loved the whole idea of having a personal styling session. I decided for my birthday I was going to treat myself. Then my knee got broken and I had to wait until I healed. Finally on Tuesday, I got to have my session. What a blast!

 I told Ella  I didn't want to look frumpy just because I am 52! Or like I was trying to be a teenager. I don't work outside of the home but I'm an artist and want a look all my own. And Oh my goodness! She took my clothes and made great outfits that are true to who I am.

What I like about Ella is she's sweet, funny, and very, very talented in taking a closet full of clothes and making them fresh. (And I said sweet, didn't I?) She had me pairing things I hadn't thought of before and you know what? They worked! I can't tell you how excited I am about it. She really helped bring out my creative side.  No frump or too young a look here! LOL. Here are some of my outfits:

Read the rest here!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Take Cover! How to Go All Summer Without Baring Your Arms

Take Cover! How to Go All Summer Without Baring Your Arms

Phew! Yesterday was the most personal thing I've ever posted here. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers for us and for those two babies as they make their way into whatever life the Universe chooses for them. Let's get back to something lighter today, shall we? Let's talk about ARMS!

Last week, a client and dear friend commented that she needed help getting through the hot Texas summer without showing her arms.  Then, a colleague friend confided in me that she, too, prefers not to show her arms and has always struggled with keeping them covered during the summer.  I also have a few Mormon clients who I know work very hard to keep their arms covered and still stay cool-and current-in the hot weather. It seems that this is a topic that's ripe to tackle! Here are my ideas for how to go all summer without baring your arms.

Dress it Up

Why does it seem like dresses with sleeves that don't cost an arm and a leg (pun intended) are the holy grail? I have had several requests from clients for them, and they've put even my research skills to the test!

Via Torrid

For sizes 12-28, Torrid has some real deals on dresses with sleeves. I love the polka dots above-and it has pockets! Talk about the holy grail! If you're looking to cover your arms at a fancier event, try this one. I love the party it's got goin' in the back!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Almost a Mother, Not Quite

Almost a Mother, Not Quite

It is from the other side of these feelings that I decided to post something I wrote a few weeks ago. I have had friends visit since then and have put away most of the things we had set up for the twins. I'm mostly doing better, but it felt important to me to share those thoughts I had in the hopes that you will share with a friend or that if you have a friend who suffers a similar loss you might have a better sense of how to help. I'm not ready to have a conversation about this online, though, so I'm closing the comments. If you'd like to share your experience around loss or to share something with me, please send me an email. If you'd like to tell me that "it will all work out," please don't. I do appreciate all of you who hold our hope for us; we'll need it when we're ready to hope again.

This is the nursery that we built. These are the freshly painted walls, the star light on the wall. These are the twin cribs, no bumpers, organic sheets, organic mattresses, one borrowed, one purchased. They said that if this happened, it would hurt less that way. That way, the story goes, you can "just" return the borrowed one to your co-worker and keep the other one for "another baby." Insert image of myself carrying the empty, borrowed-but-unused-crib into my office and depositing it with stunned co-worker (mother of three under three, got pregnant on her honeymoon). Nono, I'd say, I'm fine. After all, the story goes, "there's a plan for me" and "I'll be a mother one day." That's the thing, I've found, about the Motherhood Story or the Journey to Motherhood or whatever epic title you'd like to lend it. It's an unspoken club that you never wanted to join, those of us for whom (not) becoming a mother has more to do with ovulation strips and timed intercourse and parenting seminars and homestudy interviews, finger prints and finger pricks, and writing checks than with honeymoons. "Just get really drunk!" they say casually because, I know, I know, they're not sure what else to say.

The story we all learned is far easier to spout off. I lived for more than two and a half decades (you're all calculating my age now and wondering if that's why we haven't conceived. I don't blame you, I'd have done it, too, before) believing, truly believing, what I learned in sex ed: all it takes it one sperm and BAM! You'll get pregnant. The "watch out!" was both implicit and spoken. If that were the case, then my nursery would be full of friends oohhing and ahhing over the stars on the changing pad and the little outfits I sewed from well-loved shirts representing the places we've visited and the sports teams my husband loves. (Yes, we've "taken advantage" knowing that "once the babies come, you won't be going anywhere!"). Instead, these are the twin Bumbos with trays, and these are the preemie hats and socks, and this is the empty nursery where no one visit and no one coos.

"Write your own story," they say, and I do. I write letters in my head that start with things like "Dear Ovaries" and end with the words "F you." Or I find anyone else who has ever suffered a loss and tell them the things I want people to be telling me: You've suffered an enormous loss. You never held them, but those babies were yours. You must be so sad. You must be so angry. And those feelings make perfect sense. Can I take you out to dinner? How about watching a movie, something funny to distract you or something sad so you can cry? How many gluten free cupcakes can I bring you after work? Do you need any help with the things in the nursery? Did you get the flowers I left on the porch?

Because I have my own stories I'd like to tell about what their lives will look like or how they would have laughed at the play mat I was making them. I'd like to show it off, still.

So no matter the story you're telling yourself about her, if you have a friend or a neighbor or a coworker who has suffered the loss of a matched adoption, reach out. Yes, she knew it could happen, but no, she wasn't prepared, and she's not comforted by the stories you want to tell her, that "there's a plan" for her. As much as you might believe it, and one day she might, too, for now it feels like the plan is for her to sit, sad, in a quiet nursery. You could help her leave there sooner, just by sitting there with her truth. She was almost a mother, almost, not quite.