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.