Monday, December 22, 2014

Gone for the Holidays-and the Best of 2014

Gone for the Holidays-and the Best of 2014

Hi! I'm taking the time between Christmas and New Year's off from blogging. I'll still be answering emails (although a bit more slowly), but I'll see you here in 2015! I wanted to thank you for reading my blog whether you read once or every day. Thank you for your comments, emails, questions, and interest in this spot of the internet where we can feel comfortable in our own bodies. I'm off to spend time with family and friends, but here is a look back at 2014 before I go. 

Wow! There were posts you couldn't get enough of! Some of the most viewed and most shared posts of the 2014 included Halloween Costumes for Women Who Don't Want to be Naked, Favorite Swimsuits for 2014, How to Style a Maxi Dress or Skirt for Business Casual, 3 Black and White Outfits to Wear to an Outdoor Concert, How to Wear Jean Skirts, and The Post About Jennifer.

Some of my personal favorite posts were What Not to Wear because I finally explained more about my personal style philosophy, Behind the Scenes where I described a personal styling session from my perspective, Time Balm because I was truly very brave in showing something you don't often see-real deal dark circles without makeup on, Are You Out for Blood where I showed off the images from a photo shoot that I styled and asked a question that's often on my mind, What to Wear to Fertility Appointments because it seemed like a question someone should have answered but hadn't really, My Favorite Adoption and Fertility Resources because when I find something good I want to share it with you, and What to Wear to Meet Birth Mothers because at the time I had never seen a post that answered that question in any way other than "a suit!" Really?!

I was incredibly honored to get to work with women near and far, to be featured on A Practical Wedding when I wrote Almost a Mother, Not Quite, and to receive such positive feedback like "You gave me permission to be myself." That makes my day. It makes my whole year, actually.

So thank you again. In reading through some of my favorites, I'm reminded of what an intense year it was for me in many ways. This blog has been an outlet, a place for me to come and chat with women all across the country. Thank you for being here for me; thank you for chatting.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Deck the Halls:A Few of My Favorite (Easy) Things

Deck the Halls:A Few of My Favorite (Easy) Things

This time of year, I tend to feel just a little bit behind all season long. I have in my mind things that I want to do and make and experience, but sometimes it feels like too much. I thought in case you ever feel that way, I'd put together some of my favorite easy ways to capture the Christmas feeling even if you have done very little to no prep work and even if they happen after a long day. Please help us all out and add any ideas to the comments!

Eat good food. Try this Raw pad thai for nights when all you have are veggies in the fridge and/or you want to eat at least one healthy meal along with all of the candy canes. I'm not strict with this recipe-just use the vegetables that you can find easily.

Celebrate "special nights." What I mean by this is that nearly anything can be a theme. I'm thinking of Breakfast for Dinner night (make eggs and bacon or pancakes), Taco Night (take out included), or Picnic Dinner night (dinner on a blanket in front of the fireplace is always better). Want to make it feel special? Write the name of the night and the menu on a piece of paper. Post it somewhere.

Do free Christmas activities. Drive around and see the Christmas lights and decorations in your neighborhood. Wrap up a neglected coat, toy, or book and drop it off at a toy or clothing drive. Attend a tree lighting ceremony. Go to a church with a great choir and listen. Dance to blasting music. Take a bath and sprinkle peppermint oil in it.

Go on a date. Grab a friend, a spouse, a sibling, or a parent and plan a date night. Simple is best this time of year, I find, and I love things like watching an old Christmas movie. You could also watch a movie and eat something related to that movie like candy for Elf or bagels and cream cheese for Miracle on 34th Street. When in doubt, make my favorite popcorn: top with butter or ghee, sprinkle with lemon zest, and finish with good salt.

I'd love to hear your ideas, too!

Photo Credits
Photography: Lauren Modny Photography
Party Styling:Love Always Hannah
Stylist: StartCloseIn

Graphic Tees for the Holidays: With Something Decadent

Graphic Tees for the Holidays: With Something Decadent 

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? My mom is visiting, and we're putting up our Christmas tree, babysitting a friend's baby, and attending Friendsgivemas with friends, too! I'm excited to try a few new recipes.

But I can't leave with without another idea, another one of my favorite ways to wear a graphic t-shirt. This way is to take a t-shirt with something printed on it (with a neutral background, preferably) and pair it with something decadent, something fancy. Something you'd normally think "well, that doesn't go with a t-shirt!" But then you put them together, and something magical happens.

The something decadent could be a fabulous tuxedo jacket like the incredible Life and Style of Jessica has on in the first photo or a fabulous skirt to twirl in like Love Always Hannah above. Look around your closet, do you have something you've worn only a handful of times because it's too precious to take out on a normal night? That's it. That's what we want. Take that out!

Can't you just tell that gold sequined skirt doesn't get enough love? And if I had that awesome bold belt below, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't typically pull it out to wear on, say, a Tuesday. But, the way they're styled with a tshirt makes them feel welcome in so many more outfits! I'd love the below outfit with a graphic something on that tshirt.


So here's what the formula is: graphic tshirt + something decadent + accessories that relate to the decadent thing

For example, sequin pants with a bag that's also metallic (notice that I didn't say matches! The pants could be gold and the bag bronze!) or a big, bold belt and a pair of earrings that shine, too.

If you're looking for sequins specifically, this season is for you. Check every department store and most online retailers.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Graphic Tees for the Holidays: With a Blazer

Graphic Tees for the Holidays: With a Blazer

I'm pretty convinced that there are two things that you already have in your closet that are all you need for holiday outfits: a graphic t-shirt and a blazer/jacket. If you look at these two outfits below, they're basically the same outfit. There's a tough element (skinny black pants, boyfriend jeans) + a graphic tshirt on a neutral background (which I think is the most grown up way to way a graphic t-shirt) +a blazer with some structure + something whimsical, playful, or that makes you smile. On the right, it's the dots on the rolled up sleeves and the white Chucks. On the left, it's the big sparkly necklace and the boho hair and the glasses.

So that's it: something tough+ graphic tee + blazer + something whimsical 

I think this combination could take you to several events this time of year-shopping, to a holiday party, baking cookies with friends, or going on a December or January date. I'd love for you to wear a leather skirt as the "something tough" or sub in velvet leggings on the bottom and wear a leather jacket as the "something tough." You could also wear a big full skirt (whimsical, makes me smile, unexpected in this outfit), a leather jacket, the graphic tshirt, and you're done.

If you don't have a t-shirt in mind, try somewhere cheap like Old Navy or make your own. Don't spend a lot if this isn't a style you typically wear. Just get something soft on a neutral background and wear if a few times to see if you like the look.

Want more ideas for spending the holidays in style? Check out my ideas from last year!

Top Photo Credits
Photography: Lauren Modny Photography
Party Styling:Love Always Hannah
Stylist: StartCloseIn

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Global, Comfortable, Professional

Global, Comfortable, Professional

Hi! Did you miss me? I really enjoyed having a few days off, and we loved our time in Charleston. I've been so lucky lately to receive referrals from clients that have led to new clients and also to spend time with repeat clients in a new season!

I recently spent three hours with a new client named Bailey in her closet and then another three shopping with her. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me first say: HOW IS THIS WORK?! How is this my business?! We had way too much fun to call this anything like working.

Bailey is an incredible woman; she's traveled a ton, she's an artist, she's moving for a new job, and she's just incredible. We met in her adorable DC apartment to take a look at her clothing which was, well, minimal. She's really good at the getting rid of things part of closet cleansing but hasn't always replaced those things with stuff she can wear.

We worked together to define her personal style, which I always like to think of as three words. Then, once you have those three words, anything that doesn't fit at least one of them doesn't belong to you. Don't buy it, and don't hold on to it. Every outfit should have at least 2 of the words to describe it.

Bailey's style is something like global, comfortable, professional.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: December Discount for Holiday Gift Cards

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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

(More) Natural Beauty Buys

(More) Natural Beauty Buys

One of my recent goals has been to clear out my house, to get rid of stuff that just isn't serving me in my best version of myself. This includes makeup. I love makeup, and I'm not interested in letting it go, but I do know that I could be using products that are more healthy for me. I cringe at the thought that everything I put on my face is absorbed by my skin when I read some of the labels of my products.

So I've made a few switches (healthier face wash, sweet almond oil for makeup remover, coconut oil for moisturizer along with lots of Burt's Bees products, etc.) lately that are very easy to have made. Then came the makeup, and I've been resisting change, frankly. When I think of less toxic makeup, I think of sad, beige products that don't work that are sold at health food stores. Having grown up basically in a health food store, I resist.

Boy was I wrong. I've slowly been trying out products, and I have hit on a winner!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Pieces that You Can Actually Wear More Than Once A Year

Holiday Pieces that You Can Actually Wear More Than Once A Year

We've reached that time of year when everything is basically on sale-and you have 100 things to do. And while I try not to just enable everyone to shop for clothing all the time, that is kind of going out the window right now. Because here's the thing, most of us have some invitations coming in the mail this time of year. Whether we're getting in cars or on planes (headed to Charleston this week myself!) or having people come to us, we're going to be seen. And what will we wear? Most of us can get it together for one event, but when there are a few in a row it can start to feel overwhelming. That's why I'm here! To help. So you can do the fun things-like baking cookies to leave on a neighbor's doorstep!

Here are some ideas for things to buy, but also some things to look out for that you might already own. My idea is that you can look out for one statement piece and then pair it with basics (jeans, black pants, a pencil skirt), or do the opposite and just look for really flattering, simple pieces that you could pair with basics (or get crazy and pair them with sequined pants!), or even wear a monochrome look. And no, it doesn't have to be all red. Or all green.

And I've included pieces for women who wear plus sizes, nursing women (but those choices work for non-nursing too), and women of all ages. Because my friends come over in all shapes and sizes-and sometimes needing a way to breastfeed without a fuss! 

Sometimes all you need is one great piece: 

What about a gorgeous wear-with-everything blouse
an edgy, but comfortable sweatshirt
a sweet graphic t-shirt to dress up or down
a jaw-dropping dress (in curve sizing)
the coolest elastic waistband pants anyone ever wore to Thanksgiving ever
Or their slightly fancier but still cooler than your black work pants twin
A cheeky sweatshirt to wear with a sequined skirt or with PJs in the morning
A stunning top that you can wear with literally anything on the bottom
A t-shirt that's just a joy to wear
A sweet as candy sweater that you could edge up with ripped denim
Needing nursing friendly options? What about a nursing friendly cardigan (love the styling here)

Let's be realistic here. If you're going to wear this more than one time, you need to keep it simple (and washable):  

The most gorgeous, simple dress you can wear every day like it's leggings-or heck, even with leggings!
Just the most simple, stunning blouse
Is there anything sexier than off-the-shoulder? And curves?
Wear these dots with bigger dots on a skirt, with stripes, with plaid, with jeans, with a skirt...with green ham
Nursing mamas: wrap dress with rouching? Oh baby, this is calling your name!
 Moonbeams indeed. This is gorgeous.

Don't be afraid to get down with monochrome (even in a color other than black!)

Who says pink isn't for Christmas?
I love this cranberry multi layered top so much, I want to marry it.
I love the words elegant and forgiving in describing a sweater that I'll eat a huge meal in.

Photography: Lauren Modny Photography
Party & Prop Styling: Love Always Hannah
Stylist: StartCloseIn

Friday, November 21, 2014

Making Spirits Bright: Gift Ideas for the Women in Your Life

Making Spirits Bright: Gift Ideas for the Women in Your Life

This buffalo check cape. It's expensive, but it's gorgeous. This could stand alone as a great gift. Perfect for the woman who is always cold, the woman who loves plaid, the woman who wears fleece a lot but always admires friends' coats that aren't fleece, and anyone who loves fairtyales.

This sequined jacket.  For the woman who loves sparkle but already has a lot of jewelry, the woman who is going to be in a winter wedding (mother of the bride?) or is going to celebrate New Year's Even in a fun location.

This dress in green. It will flatter most every body type because of that gorgeous front. For the woman who had a baby in the last year, the woman who attends lots of events, the woman who wears too many black dresses, the woman who has dark skin or light eyes.

These adorable slippers. Want to know the sweet move? Give these babies to her on Christmas Eve to wear by the tree or in the morning. Maybe stuff a bag of her favorite coffee or tea in there, too. For the woman who likes to be comfortable in her own home-AKA all of us.

These personalized baby pants. For the woman who has a baby or toddler. But listen very carefully if you are a man: THESE MUST GO ALONG WITH A GIFT THAT IS FOR THE MOTHER, TOO. See above for ideas.

This backpack. For the woman who travels with a camera, laptop and/or books. For the woman student. For the woman who is also a mother, especially of twins. Or one of these or these bags if she doesn't carry quite as much stuff.

These most gorgeous earrings ever. For the woman with pierced ears (always be sure!), the woman who used to wear big earrings but hasn't lately, the woman with other gold jewelry, the woman with short or long hair. For the woman you're also getting this for.

These also most gorgeous earrings. For the woman who never wears anything but studs, the woman who wears pearls maybe too often, the woman whose eyes shine when she has a great idea.

These fun prints in black and white. For the woman whose house you love, for the woman who has a sense of humor, for the woman who likes wine.

These heirloom cutting boards in the shape of the state where she grew up or where she lives now (or got married or graduated from college or MD for med school or the letters for somewhere she lived and loved living there). For the woman who appreciates thoughtful gestures, cheese plates, or entertaining made easy.

Stocking ideas: this mug, one of these scarves, this or this necklace, one of these prints rolled up with a gift card to have it framed in the frame of her choice, a subscription to one of these gorgeous magazines. Mingle for the newly engaged woman or the in-the-adoption-process woman (looks like they have a great Gotcha Day party idea!), this or this for the business owner or business owner-to-be, a gift card to Prinstagram or even some of her Instagram photos printed and framed (you'll need her login).  

I'll keep updating this as I see ideas. Feel free to print and casually leave around or email to gift givers who might need some hints!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

3 Tips for Rocking Business Casual

3 Tips for Rocking Business Casual

When people learn that I do personal styling, they sometimes think that I must be judging what they're wearing. And it's not true that I'm judging it, but I am always noticing what women around me wear. And sometimes, the outfits are just so damn good that I take mental notes to share with you what I'm seeing. Here are three ways that I've noticed women of all ages around me just rocking business casual. 

Bye-bye, navy cardigans and beige pencil skirts. Hello, personality! 


Don't shy away from color. With black pants, the above left would be a bit of a sleeper, but those pants! Those pants! And her hair, of course, but I can't buy that. The pants, though, I can help you out there. Once you've got your basic black pants, try something brighter and just sub it into outfits where you'd normally wear black pants or even jeans. Jcrew has some great bright wools (in talls, too) this season, and Asos has brights in crepe and curve sizes, too.

Start with a great dress. What could be simpler than putting on a great dress with a classic shape? The obvious key here is to not wear anything too revealing. The not-as-obvious is to go for statement dresses. I think we can all default to neutrals because we think they're more wearable, but a printed dress can be worn a lot of different ways-and you can start to build your own personal style. I love Modcloth's dresses



Wear a midi length skirt with something edgier like low boots or strappy shoes. The rest of the look should be really covered up (long sleeves, high neck) and then BAM! Fun shoes. I'd need to add tights underneath, but a midi length is really forgiving of all kinds of warm layers you might need to add. If you're looking for a neutral, wear-with-everything work appropriate knee length boot, these are incredible. If you live somewhere warmer or tend to switch into flats at work, I love this yellow. 

And I wrote about it before, but you have to check out this tumblr. Every time I look at it, I choose more fun outfits for at least the next few days! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Girl From the North Country: Inside My Fall and Winter Closet

Girl From the North Country: Inside My Fall and Winter Closet

What I realized in putting away summer clothes and switching closets is that I can sum up my fall/winter clothing into the following categories:

  • red-based long sleeved plaid button downs
  • navy blue and white polka dot blouses
  • black and white striped shirts or sweaters
  • gray sweaters
  • gray, white or black t-shirts, v neck
  • blue-based blazers
  • neutral blazers
  • black trousers
  • jeans, dark wash
  • black dresses
  • striped jersey or knit pencil skirts
  • skinny pants in solid colors
There are one or two things that don't fit into these categories, but really very few. Those that are unusual still tend to fit into a pattern (cardigan? Oh yes, it's black and white polka dots. Sweater material vest? Black and white Navajo print). 

And you know what? I'm loving my clothing lately. I know what I want to wear, and I have it. And now it's organized. This, my friends, is a good feeling. I always tell my clients "you should be able to fall into your closet in the morning and anything you grab will fit and feel like your best version of yourself." I also strongly believe that it's better to have fewer things that you love than lots of things that you feel so-so about or worse. I'm really excited about this pared down version of my closet, and I'm so glad that I donated so much clothing and put my summer duds far away from it! 

If you're curious/worried about my lack of color, my summer clothes have much more of it, and I tend to make up for it with scarves, bright lipstick, and accessories. What can I say? I love neutrals. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

How To: Receive Compliments

How To Receive Compliments
Image via

At work lately, I've noticed on more than one occasion that female coworkers struggle to accept compliments. They'll say things to diminish what they did or say "thanks, but..." and explain why they should have done better. 
I wanted to write about this, but I'm struggling a bit. I've noticed it to be gendered, but I also largely work with women, and most of the women I work with are the ones kicking ass and getting complimented. I have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea that women aren't as able as men to accept compliments, but I think it's worth thinking about. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Client Question: What Do I Wear Pregnant to a Fall Wedding?

Client Question: What Do I Wear Pregnant to a Fall Wedding?

Remember Danae? She had fallen into a bit of a pattern with wearing the same clothes the same way, and she reached out to me to help her style what she already owned and to go shopping with her. While staying inside her modesty guidelines, we bought her skinny jeans, toddler-friendly layering pieces, and jewelry! She recently emailed me because she's expecting a second baby (yay!! I can't wait to squeeze those little cheeks!), and she was wondering what to wear to a friend's wedding here in Northern Virginia. With her permission, here is some of our exchange, and the gorgeous results! 

Danae: To give you some background, this wedding is of a coworker girlfriend, held at XXX, reception following at the XXX hotel. So pretty formal from what it sounds to me. I do know her bridesmaids are wearing an eggplant color. Here's what I have. I've narrowed it down to two options. I have other formal/bridesmaid dresses but they are either quite uncomfortable or would need major readjustments.

She sent me pictures of a black dress and a purple dress with dots. 

StartCloseIn: I love the purple! Styling for the first thought is metallic, long, dangly earrings with your hair up, which I always think looks festive. What about this or this hair idea? 
Or a celtic knot? celtic knot

You could tie the rest back into a low bun?
Or else a bold necklace that will fill the space in the neckline of the dress. Something big and bold can be a nice counterbalance to your growing belly-and no, the metallics don't need to/shouldn't match the belt exactly. This is a gorgeous example. 

After she sent me some earring-necklace combinations based on my suggestions (she found nice choices at Kohl's!)...

StartCloseIn: You're just so beautiful! I like the first and last necklaces most. Think of filling empty space. There's space created by the neckline, and a good necklace fills it in. That being said, I think you could go with the first pair of earrings and no necklace. It would look less busy, maybe more elegant? Or else the first or last necklace with the last earrings, which are smaller.Have so much fun!!

Danae: Here are the final pictures!! Thank you so much for all your help! I felt comfortable and confident the whole time! I really appreciate it! 

Doesn't she look gorgeous? And don't you just die for her little boy in the suspenders and cap?! And yes, she did her own hair in the very top image of this post! My clients are so talented. 

Want your own maternity polka dots? I like this, this in plus size maternity, and this for winter. Another thing you might consider is renting a special occasion maternity dress

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Client Update-Still belting and Scarfing!

Client Update-Still belting and Scarfing!

Remember my beloved client, Lynne? Well, I got this text from her the other day and had to share it with you. It said, simply, "Still belting and scarfing!" With this gorgeous outfit.

I want to be Lynne when I grow up!

LL Bean? Is That You?

LL Bean? Is That You?

Love this Grandpa-look striped number

I won't say that we grew up buying things at LL Bean because it was too expensive for us. But, my aunt always had their catalogue, and the preppier New Englanders I knew loved it. Along with hiking boots and "boat shoes." I never knew what those were, but they seemed fancy. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I went to our local LL Bean store in search of fleece lined tights, SmartWool tights, SmartWool socks, or maybe even a sweater or two. My office is so freezing that I've taken up some of the old Vermonter tricks for staying warm. What I expected to see, and did see, were what I called lumpy sweaters. Like this. Who looks good in this style? No one, that is who! Those 379 reviewers are wrong. It's lumpy on the hanger! 

But what I also saw were...could it be...cute sweaters? Adorable dresses? Stylish sweaters, dresses, and shirts in high quality wool and cotton that I'd recommend to my clients and readers? Yup. I saw 'em. They're there. Here's the deal: look at the "Signature fits" not the "Classic fits," and do not, DO NOT, dismiss anything based on the first image. LL Bean's website pictures look crazy and bad in the shots without people wearing them so please look at the other images with women wearing each thing.

Colorblock Sweater
This raglan colorblock sweater was adorable. I'd go a size up from your usual.
 If you're looking for basics, I also loved this classic fisherman's sweater, this merino crewneck, this merino cardigan, and mayyybe this waffle crewneck, but the mid section looks a little lumpy so it would have to hit you just right.  But I love the styling on each of these! Very copiable looks here, especially the sleeves peaking out on that waffle crewneck look. That's exactly how I'm wearing my sweaters and shirts lately, very Zoe on House of Cards.

I also couldn't walk by these dresses and shirts without snapping iphone pictures for you. They're not cheap, but the thing with LL Bean is the quality is good. And they take anything back-ever.

Belt it over the wide part or else pull it up so it slouches over?

The gorgeous plaid above is lightweight enough for warmer climates or to be tucked into a skirt or pants or worn under a sweater. I also loved this chambray plaid and this lightweight flannel.

Add caption
Also, read the comments. LL Beaners are very brand loyal so they know the ins and outs of sizing. LL Bean tends to have real sizing-not "vanity sizing." Rely on what the commenters say so you don't have to return for a new size.

Oh! You want to know what I have purchased from LL Bean before this last visit? Slippers. Because they have the best slippers ever. Add them to your list for Santa.