Friday, December 19, 2014

Glass Ceilings, One Size Fits Who?, Moon Magic, and You Learn Something New Every Day: A Roundup

Glass Ceilings, One Size Fits Who?, Moon Magic, and You Learn Something New Every Day: A Roundup

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? We are seeing the Vienna Boys Choir on Saturday, and I have a white dress I bought on Black Friday that I can't wait to wear. I hope the event is as magical and Christmasy as I'm imagining it! On Sunday we're meeting friends for brunch at The Gryphon, and otherwise we're just hanging out with the dogs and each other. I have a little more wrapping and decorating to do before we head out of town next week. I hope you have a great weekend!

Here are a few things that caught my eye in the past week or two:

Did you read or hear Shonda Rhimes speech? I've been thinking about it a lot since I did.
I found this article on what "One size fits all" looks like on a few different body shapes really interesting.
This wedding took place in my home town of Burlington, VT, and I love the look of it, don't you?
And last, did you know that some women dye their underarm hair?!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Found the Most Gorgeous Formal Dresses

I Found the Most Gorgeous Formal Dresses

Do you want to know where I found the most gorgeous formal dresses recently? At Saks Off Fifth, the outlet store.  I don't have a lot of events that require a formal dress nor where one would be appropriate, really, but these dresses made me want to throw one! If you're ever looking for one, I highly recommend that you check out an outlet mall near you if it has an Off Fifth. Here's a sample of the gorgeousness that I had to snap with my phone camera.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Not to Wear

What Not to Wear

Love green? Own it.
You give a lot of advice about what to do. Do you have any advice about what not to do? (Question inspired by Dear Sugar)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Buying Things Outside Of My Comfort Zone On Sale

Buying Things Outside Of My Comfort Zone On Sale

You know how people talk about "keeping it real"? These pants right here and these super comfort clogs? That's real. The pants seem a little...white, don't they? Why yes, my huge Bernese Mountain Dogs did run between my legs before I took this top down selfie. Just keeping it real. 

But this post isn't about clogs or dogs. It's about sales-and the opportunities that sales afford us to stretch our style wings a little. What if you took a great sale as the chance to buy something that you might not normally wear just to try it on for a little bit? What if you thought of a sale like a summer fling, a chance to get a little wild? 

Here's how I wore three prints on one day with a patterned shirt I'd usually never buy!

On Black Friday, I found myself choosing clothes for my husband and my mother-in-law. At some point, I escaped to Old Navy. It might surprise you to learn that I don't like shopping for clothing for myself with anyone other than my best friends, sister, or mom. I know what I like, and I also end up styling anyone else I'm with rather than buying things for myself.  Suddenly, though, I found myself with time alone and a dressing room to try on some new things that wouldn't cost me much.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Perfect Holiday Nail Polish

The Perfect Holiday Nail Polish

I have found the perfect holiday nail polish. It's Opi All Sparkly and Gold. It's perfect because it is forgiving to apply yourself and doesn't show a lot of smears or imperfections. It's festive without being over-the-top (I wore it to work for several days), and it lasts for a good few days.

Highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thoughtful Gifts for People You Don't Know Very Well

Thoughtful Gifts for People You Don't Know Very Well

I don't usually post on the weekends, but I know that time is running out if you're going to order anything for gifts, and some of today's suggestions need to be ordered. My friend Erika asked me a great question the other day: what do I give to people who I don't know particularly well?

I'm thinking of your husband's Aunt who will be at your mom's house to open gifts or your Uncle's girlfriend who is coming over with him between Christmas and New Year's or your partner's co-worker and her wife who invite you over for Christmas because you're not traveling to see family this year.You want to give something thoughtful and special, but you might have limited information on this person. Here are my ideas.

What about something delicious to eat, like the Maple Matured Sherry Bourbon Oak Vinegar above? It's from Salt & Sundry in DC, and if you buy anything from there (yes, they ship!), you'll look like you're on the cutting edge of what's cool in home decor and yummy in food even if you're not. These ideas would be perfect for a twenty-something cousin or relative, too. Also for the crowd who loves American made.

Or how about food from the recipient's home town or recently visited location? Maybe find out a little bit about them, and then send or bring them something related! For example, cupcakes from the famous Magnolia Bakery for a New Yorker (or just someone who visited there recently) or Valerie's incredible handmade chocolates and candy from L.A. If you've got a bit more time, consider looking at their region's Edible magazine to find good local options.

What about a special balm or lotion? I think something like the Minty Muscle Balm or set of incredible smelling men's soaps would be perfect since they're not sensual like a massage oil but are still thoughtful and will be appreciated. You may not have time for Etsy shipping so check out your local natural foods store-or even Amazon.

I also love the idea of a luxurious little set of something that most people would never buy for themselves like these little linen lavender bags. Sometimes in TJMaxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, you can find similar items, too.

And lastly? When in doubt, buy a cookbook. Bon Appetite has their favorite list out, and I think anyone would love to have one or two of these under their tree!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Behind the Scenes: My Personal Styling Sessions in Phone Pictures

Behind the Scenes: My Personal Styling Sessions in Phone Pictures

I leave work a little earlier than usual so that traffic doesn't make me late. I'm excited and nervous to meet a new client. I always think the worst (What if we don't connect? What if she finds all of my ideas boring?) mixed with the best (I can't wait to meet this new person! I wonder what kind of fun clothes she'll have?). I'm ramped up, ready to go, and wishing I had more under eye concealer.

I arrive, and we chat. We chat about her life. What do you typically wear, I ask, and would you like to be wearing something different? Something more...what? And are there times you get more dressed up than that? For dates, or church, or holiday parties? And what about on the weekends? What does that look like? Do you have any questions for me?

And then I ask her to put on something she would typically wear. While she changes, I go into her closet. I automatically scan for colors, shapes, style, organization, too. Is this someone who is comfortable with bold colors? Is she repeating a lot of the same shapes? I take a mental note to see how those shapes and those colors work on her body, with her lifestyle.

I start to lay out combinations on her bed, urging her to slowly consider combinations that she might not have before (bolds with black & white, colors from the same color family, or whatever seems like it might spice up her usual look).

One at at time, she picks out outfits from the bed that interest her. She always says things like "I would have NEVER put those things together" and "is it ok to mix Y with X?" We laugh and joke around about her lack of pants or her fear of patterns or whatever it is. Some combinations really look amazing on her, and she loves them. I build more like those, teaching her why I'm putting things together as I go so that she can repeat the steps after I leave, when it's just her and her closet tomorrow.

I take pictures of each outfit, usually from the neck down so that she's not focused on how her face looks. Later, I'll email these to her as a reminder of the many, many looks that we put together for her that she loved.

As we work through her clothing, some of it usually gets put into a donate pile. My little note pad gets a few items added to it that she might want to purchase to help fill in her wardrobe and further define and enhance her style. Later, I'll email her some links that I think will help fill those gaps, a belt here or a necklace there. I don't make any money whether she buys them or not so it makes it easy for me to send things that I really think she'll like.

Sometimes, she's booked me to go shopping with her after, too, and we'll take notes on what she might want to look for. I'll ask her to wear a specific workhorse piece, like a skirt we've re-discovered, when we go so that we can pair tops, belts, and shoes with it.

Then, somehow, three hours have passed. Her room looks like a tornado struck, and half of her closet (or more) is full of beloved outfits. She always says something about feeling like she has a whole new wardrobe, things she never wore that she can't wait to wear now. We joke about how much money we've saved her or how she's discovered that she has a great shape. Sometimes, there are tears.

And I walk out, into the crisp air, and I'm always, always smiling. It's incredible to be welcomed into someone's closet, and I value that trust. I also love knowing that I've made a difference in someone's vision of themselves. I feel on top of the world.

Personal Styling or Personal Shopping Gift Cards? Genius.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: December Discount for Holiday Gift Cards (and yes, you can get one for yourself)

The gift card can be redeemed anytime. Yes, you can buy more than one. Yes, you can buy one for yourself! Yes, 3 hours is usually $75. Why? Because I love you.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Can I Wear a Bold Necklace to Work?

Can I Wear a Bold Necklace to Work?

I recently got this question from a reader named Judy. Yes! And here's how. My personal styling client, Simmi, had a gorgeous collection of statement necklaces, and I loved putting together outfits for her that incorporated them.

Wear all neutrals. If you have a bold, neutral (metallic, white, black, etc.) necklace, consider wearing all neutrals in the rest of your outfit, too. It can help tone down a real statement piece and bring it into a peaceful, work-appropriate outfit. This could work just as well with jeans, too!

Embrace bright colors. On the flip side, if you have a really colorful necklace, a simple way to wear it is with other brights. This is clearly a summer outfit, but the same thing would apply now in the winter. Pick a color or print for the bottom of your outfit that relates to or could be friends with the colors in the necklace. Then, add a contrasting bright color in between. The blue helps to break up the necklace and the skirt. When I look at this summer version of the outfit, I imagine it with a wooly patterned skirt, tights, and a soft, cozy, bright sweater and boots for right now.

This is the same idea but with a neutral between the necklace and the bright bottoms. If I were working with Simmi today, I'd put a motorcycle boot in place of sandals and a black blazer on top and send her on her merry way. And, of course, if you prefer a more demure look, you can put a tank under a drapey neck.

I also want to throw out there that this time of year I really think about scarves more than necklaces. Sure, I wear necklaces, often under my scarf, but a bright or neutral scarf can become the inspiration for a great work (or play!) outfit. Some of my favorite places for scarves include Etsy, Nordsrom, and, surprisingly, maternity stores. If you can bring yourself to walk into one, they often sell great scarves to help pregnant women feel stylish. But no reason they need to have all the fun!

Great question, Judy! Thanks for the email!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gift Guide for Caregivers

Gift Guide for Caregivers

I was chatting with one of my best friends recently, and she commented that a lot of her parent friends are on the look out for gift ideas for the people who help them care for their children. I love this idea, and I thought I'd play along!

Art: When I was a teacher in the Bronx, I had no money. I mean zero money. I remember one of my dear friends who was living off the City Year stipend, who also worked in public schools for her assignment, who used to eat leftover ramen. Art was a luxury we could not afford. I would have loved a piece of framed art like this, a beautiful calendar-or a gift card to buy something of my choice. Or what about something beautiful and festive for their home like these lights?

A useful item related to something they love to do (could also combine with a gift card to a related store or restaurant): what about