Monday, September 30, 2013

3 Affordable Fall and Winter Jackets to Buy Now

3 Affordable Fall and Winter Jackets to Buy Now (and one fantastic splurge)

Today's post is going to be very light because I am still recovering from co-hosting a shower/girls' weekend for one of my best friends in the world. But, I couldn't help myself from coming over to share one of the cute jackets that we spotted today while shopping at Target. It would be great for the Virginia and farther south areas into late fall-or even winter if you are comfortable layering up.

The Tribal


I made a blanket out of a similar fabric, and people are always asking me where I found the fabric (JoAnn's) and saying they want a jacket out of it. Target is ready to make that happen for you! The muted colors of this jacket make it subtle enough that once the tribal trend is truly gone, you can still wear it proudly. I love the collar on this one.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Statement Necklaces for Fall & Winter

Weekly Roundup: Statement Necklaces for Fall & Winter

If you're going to wear a "statement" necklace, then it better make a statement! One thing I have struggled with is how to wear a bigger necklace in the fall and winter because I prefer them with maxi dresses or a simple t-shirt. Of course, anyone can wear one of these beauties to fancy up a simple dress, but what about styling a focal necklace for regular wear with layers?

The Contenders

This first necklace is the most gorgeous thing ever. I love it. The others are gorgeous-and yes, also expensive. They would be a great gift idea for that very reason because they fall into the category of "not something I would spend the money on for myself, but I would love to receive it."
Stella & Dot

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Virtual Personal Shopping: Corrine

Virtual Personal Shopping: Corrine

Last weekend I had the joy of connecting with a long-lost friend, Corrine. She recently finished up school and is a social worker, which means that she needs outfits that feel comfortable and professional, but not too stuffy. She needs to be able to sit on the floor with kids in the morning and grab a bite to eat with her partner in the evening, all while staying warm in the Vermont fall and winter.

She has a great sense of style and picks incredible items, especially shoes and scarves! A woman after my own (scarf-covered) heart. However, like so many of us, she has been feeling stuck in a rut: she wears the same clothes together often and doesn't feel inspired when she gets dressed very early in the morning. Thanks, Corrine, for sending me all of these pictures!

If you're interested in working with me as your personal shopper or in having me re-do, re-fresh, and re-imagine your closet, now is the time to contact me because I will be starting to charge for my services in the next month. Book me now while I'm still building my portfolio! And no, you don't have to be on the blog.
Doesn't Corrine looks gorgeous in bright colors?

Personal Shopping

We got together on Google hangout the other night to talk about what she might want me to look for in a virtual shopping session for her, and we came up with some specific ideas for her that were budget-friendly, unique, and versatile enough to fit her professional/vibrant/casual look.

Q&A: Why Are Belts the Most Important Thing in my Closet?

Q&A: Why Are Belts the Most Important Thing in my Closet?

Ok, I may have added to the original question, which was "Can you talk about wearing belts?" The thing is, I think they're the #1 thing you have (or maybe don't have) in your closet for fall/winter 2013. My relationship with belts has been hot and cold. At one point, I owned easily over 40 belts. Then the whole long shirt, skinny pants thing (Round One) happened, and I abandoned my old friend. Coming round to today, I'm back on the belt fan wagon. Yeah, that's a thing.

All via

But why? Imagine each of these outfits without the belt: the cute expecting mama would be lost in her scarf-top, the incredible woman in the middle would be drowning in what looks like a too-big-coat, and the badass in pink on the bottom would look way less curvy and way more like she's wearing a men's shirt. It's all about the belt.

Belts add shape, cinch in waists, and highlight the narrowest part of you. They instantly tie together patterns or help colors relate to each other. Also, they can easily serve as the third thing that helps tie two pieces of clothing into an outfit. A skirt and men's shirt are clothes-with a belt, they're an outfit. Those amazing oxfords don't hurt, either.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Would You Wear Overalls (again)?

Would You Wear Overalls (again)?

The other day, as I strolled through the Juniors section of Target, I was hit head-on with an ironic situation. I was looking for a retro-inspired dress with a full skirt and small repetitive pattern. Ideally, 1950s-inspired. I even sent my mom a photo of a dress that was so frumpy it made us both cringe. Oh, the irony, then, when I came face-to-face with the late 90s. Stone-washed denim, midriffs, and bared shoulders. "Nooooooooooo!" I wanted to shake every teenager I saw with a grunge-y flannel tied around her waist, "Don't do it!"

But then, this week I was reminded of one of the most comfortable things about that time period: overalls. Yes, bending over in them was uncomfortable, and they're certainly not right for every shape, but do you remember how comfortable they were? And, more importantly, would you wear them again?

All links here
Like the first time around (or maybe the third?), they look best with not much underneath. The newer fit is tapered in the leg or rolled up, but you can skip the awkward platform sandals on the left: just stick with the same Converse we wore the first couple times around and what the heck, might want to try them out with a flannel while you're at it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Virtual personal shopping: Corrine sneak peek

Virtual personal shopping: Corrine sneak peek

Check back later this week for more on the always gorgeous Corrine!

If you're interested in working with me as your personal shopper or in having me re-do, re-fresh, and re-imagine your closet, now is the time to contact me because I will be starting to charge for my services in the next month. Book me now while I'm still building my portfolio! And no, you don't have to be on the blog.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Puffer Vests for Non-Teenagers

Weekly Roundup: Puffer Vests for Non-Teenagers

I did some research yesterday in the name of fashion. It was tough, I know, but someone's gotta do it, right? Here's what happened and why.

Puffer vests are awesome. 

Despite the joke about vests being made for the unlikely event when your arms are hot but your body is cold, I will go on the record as loving a good puffy (puffer? do we really have to say that?) down vest. There we go. Down. A good down vest. Here's why: I am often, if not always, cold. And while part of turning 30 for me was about just swallowing my pride and wearing warm boots even when everyone else was in short sleeves, it still bothers me to wear a heavy coat in the fall. Where do you go from there? Enter the vest.
Oh, no. No, no, no. Not like that. I'm not sure if it's more the fake fur or the way they've styled it, but everything about this vest screams high school, maybe college, to me. She's even got vaguely PJ-ish pants on, and not in a cute grown woman track/harem pants kind of way. So, what's a woman to do?

Great vests can be hard to find-or very expensive

The thing is, I found the perfect vest. I pinned it last year, actually, and it's haunted me ever since. There she is, on the left, with the big $$$ signs in front of her.
All links available here.
That innocent-looking gray herringbone vest that's not too puffy but not too thin is like the Goldilocks of vests, right? She's also over $400. That's right, with two zeroes at the end. The polka-dotted chevron from the Gap is not a bad substitute, but somehow it is both sold out on line and not in stores yet. Fail. UPDATE: the gray dotted is NOT sold out-and is fantastic! The navy dottie above right might be a comparable substitute, but I'm afraid that it might be shiny fabric based on previous years of "research" over at the old Gap is great-yes, a bit more slick than the gray, but a feminine fit with a deep color. I still prefer the gray, but the navy is a nice second.

Also, I agree with Aint No Mom Jeans-look how cool the Gap is lately!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Do a Closet Cleanse: Part III

How to Do a Closet Cleanse: Part III

We've talked about how to tackle your closet and organize your closet by color. Today, I'm excited to talk with you about one idea for what to do with some of the clothing that you take out. Of course, you could donate it, host a clothing swap, or sell it on EBay, but if you are like me, it will never happen. Your clothes sit there in a pile/corner/box in the corner of your room or in your car until you finally find one of those clothing donation boxes. End of story.

Enter Twice. It's an online site that buys and sells clothing, like an online thrift store. It's kind of genius, actually, right? I ordered my first free bag to fill up this week because I have some items that qualify to be sold on their site. I'll update you when it arrives and throughout the process!

Here's what the adorable Rachel (there she is-being goofy!) had to say about it:

via Twice's homepage
"Twice is the easiest way to convert clothing into cash — we take care of everything for you! Just order a bag or prepaid shipping label through our site, pack up your past-wears and send them on over to us for free! Just be sure your brands are on our brand list, damage-free, and no more than 5 years old.

Then our team of quality experts will review your package and make you an offer on all of your items. You can collect your earnings in cash (via PayPal), paper check or get 25% more in Twice store credit. Whichever items we don’t accept, then get donated to Goodwill or sent back to you for a $5 fee."

How easy is that?! I'll have to update you once I've sent some stuff in, but it seems like a great way to get some cash (or credit) for items that I'd normally keep around. They advertize having sizes 0-16+, and when I've logged on the size variety has been stronger on some days than others. What they do consistently have are pants, including jeans, in lots of different sizes from high quality brands like Citizens Of Humanity, Calvin Klein, Levi's, Gap, etc. Those are a great buy since once you know your size in those brands, it's easy to order online.

Here are few tips to get you paid as much as possible:

- Use their fun calculator that shows your earnings per item;
- Carefully inspect your items and wash them prior to sending them in so they don't get rejected;
- Fill your package to the brim (the more you’ll send in, the more they’ll pay;
- Only send in their accepted brands —check out the full list here.

What to do with that store credit

So the second fun part about Twice is their clothing: they've got good quality brands with current styles for a lot less than retail. Here are some of my favorites from when I checked their site on Monday. If these aren't there, I'm sure you'll find some great items!

Anthropologie, Size 12 Price: $43.95 Originally Priced at $153.55 Buy it for 70% Off

Jcrew, Size 4, Originally Priced at $134.99 Buy it for 65% Off


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Three Pounds Less

I love this so much. I've recently had a lot of conversations about this line of thinking. I'm not sure if it's this age (turning 31 next month!) or if others are feeling it, but it feels to me that there's a cultural shift happening. It feels like we're ready, at least some of us, for saying "I am right here at the moment, and I'm ok with it" in regards to many aspects of our lives.

That's what I love, actually, about personal style. It's a way of being honest about our lives as they currently are and about celebrating that. It's about donating the clothes that no longer apply to our current lives and taking stock of where-and who-we are. It's not just about size, it's about lifestyle, values, how we spend our free time, and what we want the world to know about us. I love it.

Celebrating My Clients

I've gotten to work with some incredible women lately; they're "pretty damn good." Recently, I met with Hannah to tackle the myth of not wearing white after Labor Day. She's a rising star working in a fairly conservative office who was struggling to maintain her sparkle while at work and still have the energy for fun outfits during her down time. I think she looks incredible!


Then I worked with Andrea, a runner and young professional who describes herself as a "tomboy," to update her wardrobe without spending a dime. Her closet was full of incredible vintage finds, but she just wasn't wearing them in a way that made her feel excited to get dressed in the morning. Doesn't she look amazing?

Before Andrea there was Erika, six feet tall, redhead, PhD, young professional-professor and award winning jam maker. We spent a few hours together highlighting her made-for-Mad-Men curves and highlighting that incredible alabaster skin. She blew me away.

I also got to spend a morning doing some personal shopping for Anna, a new grandmother who has spent many years putting others' before her. She was ready to spend some time with herself (and me!). The results were incredible. "I look like my old self!" she said at the end.

And I was even featured on StyleLove!

Here's to you, women of the greater DC area. I salute you! Right where you are...


Monday, September 16, 2013

True Life: I'm a Fashion Blogger

True Life: I'm a Fashion Blogger

Today's sneak peek needs to be filed under the heading "Is this really happening?" Yesterday I had the honor to style the fall fashion for a photo shoot shot by the incredible Lauren Modny, styled and artistic directed by the incomparable Hannah Marsh and modeled by the beautiful, creative women behind Tomboy. It was a dream come true. 

In a couple of weeks I'll have the professional shots for you and some fall fashion tips, but here are some behind the scenes shots I just couldn't wait to share! Someone pinch me. 

I can't wait to show you the professional shots. We had the most fun. Want to be in our next photo shoot?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Closet Re-Do: Andrea

Closet Re-Do: Andrea

Today's photos are going to blow you away. I am just so incredibly lucky to work with such smart, fun, gorgeous women. Andrea is no exception. We got together last weekend to transform her closet from one full of incredible vintage finds that she never wore (or only wore in one way) to a versatile, playful, organized treasure trove full of outfits made just for her. Not bad for three hours!

All images from our time together.

The Process

We met up over chicken and bubble tea in the fashion capital of Maryland: Rockville. Just kidding. Yes to chicken and bubble tea, no to fashion. However, leave it to Andrea to have scouted out not only a great lunch spot but also a fantastic thrift store next door.

Clearly, she's the type of person you want to know! What she told me was a fairly typical story: she likes shopping, especially finding unique items, but when she gets them home she doesn't always know how to wear them. She found herself wearing the same things the same way-often on the same day! When she told me that she has a "Tuesday dress," I knew we could have some fun together shaking things up. Here's how it went down!

In her own words

Start Close in: What were you hoping to get out of our time together?

Andrea: I was stuck in a rut--bored with my clothes (even though my closet was pretty full). I was wearing the same thing every week (dress+belt+flats) and had bought a few items I really wasn't sure how to pull together. I'm a clothing scavenger--I pick up items that I like here and there but never really think about how they will work with my other items. I was hoping I would feel excited about my clothes again without buying new ones. Lastly, I was hoping it would be fun and relaxed--which is was.

What was the experience like for you?

Bringing the clothes of out my closet and looking at them made me realize I have many more options than I thought. The pile was huge (and there was a lot we didn't even get to!) A few times you asked, "what do you usually wear this with?" and I couldn't even remember the last time I had worn that garment. It was great to have fresh eyes on clothes that I have owned and seen hanging in the closet for a long time. It was also fun to have some validation about some of the more interesting clothing pieces in my closet. There weren't too many things you couldn't make an outfit out of (plaid shorts, not-withstanding).

Did anything surprise you?

The time FLEW by! Also, you were able to make my most unwearable pieces wearable (too big old lady skirt and grandpa shirt: I'm looking at you!) and make them look good. It's easy to forget good combinations, which is where the pictures come into play. I didn't think my wardrobe is as versatile as you showed me it can be.

What are you most excited about that came out of our time together?

Having outfits grouped together will help me fight the urge to grab a dress and a belt in the dark at 6am. The pictures are reassuring so I know that I don't look silly in something if it's out of my comfort zone. I feel like I have "new" clothes to wear since some of the outfits are very different from what I would have picked out myself.

Anything else you'd like to say?

I'd say if you are at all considering working with Ella--go for it! You have nothing to lose by spending three hours hanging out with someone fun, chatting, and playing dress-up. Since you already own the clothes you might as well get some use out of ALL of them (grandparent era clothing included!) As if re-arranging my closet wasn't enough, she brought us some home-grown tomatoes, which was really sweet! (Oh, thanks, Andrea! You're adorable.)

Andrea's adorable dog in our fashion show front row!

The Closet Consultation (aka Shopping Her Closet)

After meeting with Andrea, I created a Pinterest Board to get myself focused on some ways to help Andrea feel more polished in her professional life (blazers, belts, monochromatic looks as well as pattern mixing) and also take more risks in her weekend wear. I knew that she relied heavily on wearing dresses since they're simple to throw on and that she, a distance runner, often wore t-shirts and shorts when not at work. I knew there was a balance between the two that would reflect her personality and flatter her figure, too. I think the result was incredible, don't you?

 Her yellow and black skirt suit (top shown here with the infamous "Tuesday Dress" and over a sundress at left) was one of Andrea's incredible vintage finds. We went from her not knowing exactly how to wear it to us describing it as "a staple." The key was breaking it up into a blazer and a skirt. Both fit well and had great texture. It went with everything once we broke it up into pieces!

Andrea has great shoes so that made it easy to infuse some youthful style into even the most professional looks. Some of her vintage clothing veers toward the grandma end of the spectrum, and we loved contrasting that with her edgier footwear.

Here, I layered the suit jacket over a sundress to help her wear it into fall or winter. The belt was an easy addition to cinch in her waist because it was yellow, too. The booties and rolled sleeves helped the look feel youthful despite the vintage touches. We discussed wanting to maintain a balance between professional at work with her keen sense of personal style while not feeling too young. I love this look!

Andrea is smart about buying shoes that go with almost everything but are classic, too. In her office, most people don't wear heels, and she's most comfortable wearing flats to work. I found it easy to work with her shoe selection because her clothing tends to be more colorful, letting the shoes fill in as an easy neutral. Yes, I consider a wedge desert bootie a neutral!

We had a lot of fun pulling out items from Andrea's closet that felt to me like they belonged together: a rugby shirt and gingham collared shirt disguised a high waist on a pair of basic black pants that she hadn't worn in years. Adding the incredible plaid bag she said she never uses (!?!), pearl earrings, and a scarf was just the icing on the preppy chic cake. And yes, I've threatened to take that bag home myself if she doesn't start wearing it more!

We also had a blast putting together things that visually count as neutrals (the skirt below left and jacket below right) with patterns and a few contrasting accessories to tie the looks together. And yes, that yellow and black jacket counts as a neutral! That means it can make friends with any other color and patterns, too!

Some Insider Tips

Andrea worried that her eye for great fabric and shape had led her astray with this lavender skirt, above. It didn't quite fit her, and she just wasn't wearing it. But, adding a whimsical "Free People" inspired shirt and belt meant that we'd fallen back in love with the skirt and convinced ourselves she could wear it often.

Here are a few more tricks I had up my sleeve that might apply to your closet, too! 

Thank you, Andrea! I had so much fun playing dress up. I'm glad you feel like you have a whole new wardrobe now! See you soon, and you'd better have that plaid bag with you. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Transitioning to Fall Fashion

Weekly Roundup: Transitioning to Fall Fashion

Here's the deal: I like fall just fine. The problem is, I really dislike winter. I am, as my husband pointed out the other day, one of the few people who likes to be hot. While everyone spends the summer complaining about the heat, I am happy as can be. So no, I'm not thrilled with fall sneaking up on us because it's a slippery slope to winter, which means constantly being freezing. I grew up in Vermont-I know about cold!

However, one great thing about fall is the fashion. I have turned my cold hands and feet into the perfect excuse to own far too many hats, jackets, scarves, gloves, and boots. And today's post is a celebration of one of them: jackets, blazers, and coats in lots of sizes, all mixed together, all on sale. Let's not go too crazy here and talk about real winter gear, just something you could put on soon-over your cropped pants, maxi dresses, or other remnants of summer. Sigh.

Sale alert! Save 15% off ModCloth Party Dresses with the code PARTY15. Until 9/13 at 11:59AM PST. 

Size XL only

This blue faux leather is just gorgeous. Wear it (or something like it that you already own!) over a maxi dress for a little feminine edge or with a similar color jeans as a nod to Fall 2013's blue-on-blue obsession. 

Sizes 2-6

I have a similar jacket from The Loft, and it's become one of the most versatile things I own. Wear this over contrasting colors, over blues, or with summer's stripes in similar tones. Add some coral lips now and deep burgundy lips in another month. You won't regret it.

Size 8 only

Oh, size eights! Everyone else wised up to this little number and scooped it up! Now it's on sale and calling your name. This is a great office item because it goes over everything (wear it with this winter's pastels), looks insanely comfortable, and still manages to look polished. It's basically the trifecta of sweater/jacket/tops. 

Size 12 only

If I had a size 12 client right now, I would purchase these for her and insist that she take them and wear them. They're that good-and on sale. Now I feel like a drug pusher, but seriously, these are just gorgeous. The military buttons on the left are both trendy and classic. I've actually been meaning to update a jacket I already have (boring black blazer) with a whole bunch of buttons in a little DIY action. And the fur shoulders to the right? They made me break my promise not to get too far into winter, but they were worth it! I love how she's wearing all neutrals and a skirt that's just a hair longer than the jacket to really let it shine.