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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Limited - Fashion Show & Gift Certificate Winners.

The fashion show celebrating The Limited’s grand opening at The Streets of Southpoint in Durham was fantastic, and I was thrilled to be a part of it all. When I tell you there were crowds of people, it would be an understatement. The fashion show was held in center court with over 100 chairs for VIP seating, and standing room only behind the chairs for the crowds gathered and above on the second floor looking down.

Linda Loveland, morning DJ for MIX 101.5, came out in her red sheath dress and made the introductions. I giggled when she announced that the sheath dress she was wearing was her first ever owned. Truth be told, Linda could put on a paper bag and it would still look great. She has the longest, loveliest legs I’ve seen in a long time and she ain't 29 no more, but looks amazing!

Elliot Staples, the Senior Vice President of Design at The Limited, soon came out to get the show going. He started with 8 items on a rolling rack ranging from pants, skirts, tops, a sweater and a fabulous sage green, pleather bomber jacket. The first series of models strutted the runway in the various combinations from the eight garments shown on the rack earlier. The models were all employees from the store, which to my delight proved the versatility of clothing for women of all shapes and sizes.

As the next several segments followed, we were introduced to camel as the key color with a touch of tartan plaid in a fabulous cape, skirt and coat. All the camel garments shown were paired with combinations of navy (Elliot's favorite combination), blacks, browns, greys, and reds! Personally, I think the accessories - belts, scarves, handbags and shoes - made all the outfits winners!

We also witnessed another trend of color block clothing. On a side note, I found color block items this past spring to be a little too challenging for the average consumer to wear, but The Limited carries color block pieces my grandmother could have pulled off. As the crowds cheered, Elliot introduced one last group of models. The group was comprised of local college student volunteers and employees from the local Ronald MacDonald House, who The Limited had partnered with for the event. A percentage of the store sales profits throughout the weekend were donated to Ronald MacDonald House. So, fashion meets fundraising!

It really was a wonderful fashion event and the people that registered for the show and were given a wristband, they were about to experience truly getting the most bang for your buck! At the private VIP party, not only did the wine and desserts flow, but all clothes in the store where 50% off. Check out the black and red pleather jacket that had my name on it!

For my two luck winners, Beth Palmer and Chris Jones, they were armed with their $50 gift card in hand as they attempted to shop along with the maze of crowds in the store. As the DJ provided shopping music, I searched for Beth Palmer, looking forward to helping her choose items to wear back with a black pair of pants that she was wearing. Beth is a breast cancer survivor, first diagnosed in 2003 and she is a talented artist - worth checking out her website at www.bethpalmerstudio.com, too.

By the time I found Beth she was in the register line holding a color block cardigan of red and camel, a muted stripe black and navy sweater, and a grey jacket. She had done quite well (clearly she’s listened to me over the years), but I quickly mentioned that the cardigan would really pop with a white shirt or blouse worn underneath and anything in a brighter color with her grey jacket. She is so talented that we actually chatted about color ranges she could paint on scarves to accessorize her new garments with. She left exhausted and happy with her purchases!

Then I began my second hunt for Chris Jones. Have I mentioned it was really a zoo, and by then I was looking for the bar and a glass of wine. I had done my interviews and quite honestly, could have dressed Chris with one eye open. Chris is a local jewelry artist that I have been working with as a client and custom jeweler for my own clients for several years. I have watched her jewelry evolve beautifully and have enjoyed collaborating on many custom works. Her work is definitely worth checking out at www.christinejonesjewelry.com.

It was only by coincidence that both women are artist and both entered my contest and won. Now that is what I call using Facebook to your advantage!

I finally found Chris and promised to be back to find her again once I had been through the store pulling items for her. I came up with a great sage green bomber jacket, a drape neck black, grey and muted red sleeveless top to pair with a wonderful red jacket we just bought her from another store. I also found The Limited's signature Cassidy pant that fits most women in a beautiful camel color. Lastly, knowing that Chris wanted to buy something for her teenage daughter, I pulled a silver sequin sleeveless top to pair with a with a long sleeve fitted tee under it or a cardigan sweater over it for versatile look for school. Chris moved behind a rack, not wanting to wait for a fitting room, and proceeded to do what I see often with the elderly when not wanting to bother to go to a fitting room. Layer and try on, and then look for a mirror somehow. Mission accomplished. For Chris's wardrobe it is all about a few great jackets, basic bottoms and shirts, enabling her to highlight her own jewelry designs. The sage green bomber jacket will is a wonderful addition as a wardrobe builder for Chris. I suggested that Chris have the knit cuff cut off to fit her arm length. Simple tailoring of any garment is your best investment. So it was a win-win for everyone.

Special thanks to those who entered my Facebook contest, McKeeman Public Relations Company, and The Limited for inviting me to participate in this fun event. It was so much fun!

Another reason why I love my job...

Another reason why I love my job, you often get to meet some of the coolest people. Famous, not so much, but creative and exciting and passionate about what they do!

I had the opportunity to meet and interview Elliot Staples, the Senior Vice President of Design for The Limited. His smile and genuine warmth is the first thing you notice and that’s just his face. His body language makes you feel at ease immediately. He is all about being yourself and when asked about his own personal approach to dress he replied "simple and classic, and I love jeans." So check out the picture and I expect you will agree.

Oh, but his shoes.... a washed grey leather was an indicator that he has a thing for shoes and loves style! Sitting down with Clinton Kelly a year ago was very reminiscent of my chat with Elliot. We were like two old fashionista's trading style secrets while discussing best approaches to styling women, great looks and color palettes for the season. We also talked about up and coming projects for The Limited, and we were both very excited.

Making that connection with Elliot was like putting on my favorite shoe. Comfortable and sassy! Elliot loved fashion as a child and still has the paper dolls that he made (my Barbie’s were my mannequins) and credits his mother’s talent as an artist for much of his younger inspiration. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, he worked for Adrienne Vittadini and most recently, The Gap. I asked him how he made his mark at The Gap, because most designers won't leave a fashion house until they have accomplished something significant in their career. He shyly admitted that he created the "Rainbow Crazy sweater" which is the classic stripe sweater that The Gap continues making every season in one shape or another. His early career and passion was built on designing sweaters.

Elliot has been with The Limited now for over ten years, but has been overseeing the design for 5 to 6 years. I wanted to talk about things that came up for me as a stylist and to get his take on what I encounter. I asked how The Limited would take into account this season’s trend with darker clothes on top and light clothes on the bottom. The rule has always been the opposite to slim the body visually from top to bottom. He replied camel pants, and yes, go for the white pants to be worn year round! As Elliot and I continued to compare notes, we found that The Limited follows many of my same rules of thumb:
  • Wear whatever colors you like, but keep closest to your neck and face colors that enhance your eyes and face color.
  • We vote no for matchy-matchy and monochromatic. Go tonal instead. Selecting tones of a color through underpinning and accessories increase your wardrobe ten-fold.
  • Always try at least one new item that might not be in your comfort zone.
  • Mix browns, black, navy, grey and camel with shades of red as a pop of color. Everyone should own something red or animal or python print in their wardrobe.
  • Build a wardrobe of 50% of pants, sweater, skirts and jackets and the other 50% should be underpinning (shirts, tanks) shoes, belts, scarves and jewelry.
I love asking stylists and designers for their top picks of the season. I asked for 5 but I have to tell you with all the great options at The Limited, I think Elliot went over (completely understandable). I love what he came up with!
  • A camel coat,
  • color block top, sweater or dress,
  • a full skirt,
  • a great pair of jeans,
  • anything animal or python print,
  • a scarf, and,
  • a denim shirt.
After I finished asking about the fall line, I had one last question that I was quite curious about. So where does The Limited go from here? What's in the pipeline? Elliot's eyes began to widen and a broad smile appeared as he was quick to announce the October launch of a plus size collection sizes 14-24 called Eloquii. It will be available online and was designed after the CEO Linda Heasley fielded numerous requests from plus size women craving to have on trend fashion clothing that didn't compromise on fit and quality. The line will only be available online for the time being, but I expect the next move will to have actual stores carrying the line when it does well. Hooray for The Limited - despite the downturn in the economy, they continue to move forward by listening to consumer’s needs and focusing on what a consumer will actually purchase.

As the interview wound down, only because I needed to interview the CEO as well, I marveled at how at ease he is with himself and the goals of The Limited. As I mentioned at the beginning you just wanted to hug him because he too shares something that I am so passionate about! We both love making people look and feel good in their clothing while staying true to themselves! As we posed for our picture, I jokingly threatened to give him a kiss while waiting for Marci Milito to snap a picture. He turned to me with a smile and acknowledged that it would be ok. He is just that nice and really a true asset to the company on many levels!

Watch for the next segment on the fashion show and my two winners from the contest!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Have I mentioned this week that I really love what I do?

Another exciting chapter in the many fun things I do with my job occurred last night. I attended the grand opening of The Limited at Streets of Southpoint Mall. Part of the grand opening events included a fashion show, and wow - loved the fashions for fall!

The Limited, under the guidance of relatively new CEO Linda Heasely, is looking to remake their mark. Linda has been CEO at the Ohio-based company for the last three and a half years, and is, predictably, charged with making The Limited even more successful than it is.

Yes, they still make great business suit separates with three different fits of pants, skirts and jackets that are washable and easy to wear, from business casual to corporate. Similar to what I teach my clients, The Limited is hoping to teach their customers to wear what I like to call lifestyle dressing. The Limited hopes to move women towards making buying decisions when building their wardrobe to encompass all aspects of their lives. The idea is that by taking separates and what I call underpinnings (tops and sweaters) and changing up the looks with accessories and shoes for weekend wear, you will be able to extend your wardrobe with The Limited from weekend to office and back again. Pretty much, you’ll find what you need at The Limited for whatever you do.

I had an opportunity, and I don't say that lightly ‘cuz it’s a huge deal, to sit down with both Linda and Senior Vice President of Design, Elliot Staples, after the fashion show. I approached Linda first and before the fashion show to introduce myself. She is lovely, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Petite and chic with fabulous trademark round frames. We talked about the fact that I had worn The Limited clothing years ago when I was in high school and later in college, and that naturally led to a conversation about the challenge of getting customers today to understand the importance of buying core basics for a wardrobe when young and learning how to build a varied wardrobe from there.

Linda agrees with me that the challenge is to buy quality pieces and not look for the "quick fix" of buying an outfit for a night out. In essence, training younger buyers to not run to H & M or Forever 21 for a lesser quality, trendier garment for that one time wear, but to think in the long term and buy something that looks great and adds to your wardrobe in a more positive way. My own personal challenge is my college age daughter, who of course I love dearly, does shop for the moment of the event and not for the long term. Quality over quantity! Buy that wow silver sequin top that is $40 for work under a jacket, worn over a white blouse with the collar pop up or for night wear with a pair of jeans or jeggings! That is how to evaluate the cost per wearing an item - whether you can wear it multiple times and in different situations.

I noticed also that the The Limited has worked very hard to introduce their new brand positioning. I asked Linda how they have done that and she mentioned through updating their stores with a whole new look, a print campaign in all major magazines that highlights their new look, fashion events like the grand opening I attended last night, visually appealing new store windows (I must agree), and engaging their customers in conversation using social media. Linda has had the company revamp the website and now provides an e-commerce shopping cart so you can buy things online if they aren’t in the stores already. She worked closely with the creative team to map The Limited's new direction and marketing campaigns and has returned The Limited to profitability for the first time in 17 years.

Linda is obviously a strategic thinker. I asked her how her background, a degree from Harvard and stints with Timberland and CVS, has helped her move The Limited to this new-found success. She gave credit to her wonderful hard working team and the added fashion strength of Elliot Staples. She gave her design team the challenge of coming up with 8 items each season that women could mix and match to get a month’s worth of new looks. Every woman is looking to get more bang for their buck, and she recognizes that in any economy that sentiment will remain true. She wants women that don't necessarily have the money to spend on many new looks to have clothes in their closet and to find relevance in what they want and need. Linda fervently believes that The Limited can do that for women, and after spending time with her, I have no doubt she will achieve her goals. I look forward to meeting her again and appreciated her honestly and approach.

And for all the information she gave me, the only request she made of me?.....getting women to try pegged and pleated pants. I can work on that!

Watch for more blogs on Elliot Staples, head designer at The Limited, the actual fashion show and my two winners of the $50 gift card contest.

Monday, August 22, 2011

When Free Is Too Easy!

This coming Thursday, August 25th, from 6pm-8pm The Limited will be launching their new look at a fashion show at Southpoint Mall in Durham. I am quite excited to see the new direction that Head of Design Elliot Staples has taken the stores. I have two (2) $50 gift certificates that The Limited has given me to share with followers of Wardrobe Consulting. Just leave me a comment and tell me what your biggest obstacle is when it comes to getting dressed. Feel free to be as general or specific as you'd like, but I want to hear it all - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Winners will be chosen this Tuesday night (August 23rd)! We will also have front row tickets to the fashion show and will then attend the private party in the store with all merchandise being offered at 50% off. I will also work with the winners after the fashion show to find a great look for fall that best suits their lifestyle! I t is going to be a blast so don't waste another minute and send me your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New "Gotta Have It" on My Carolina Today...

In case you missed it on My Carolina Today, here's my latest 'Gotta Have It' segment. Scroll down for more information on and links to the featured items.

  1. No drip candles, made in the USA, ranging in price from $23 to $25. Offered by Wander With Wonder at The Shops at Baileywick, Raleigh. http://www.theshopsofbaileywick.com/

  2. Bandanas designed by artist Jason Jagel from San Francisco offered by The Curatory at the Raleigh Denim Workshop - $36. http://www.thecuratory.com

  3. LBDB (Little Black Dress Bag) clutch - $58, canvas/nylon tote - $145. Bows run $60 and up. Available at Kristin's Shoe Boutique. http://www.kristensshoes.com/

  4. Hand made in NC Lace Pottery by Maggie Weldon available in various sizes, shapes and colors from $10 to $260. Available at NoRa at The Shops at Baileywick, Raleigh. http://www.thenorashop.com

  5. Summer tie dye versatile cotton dress/skirt by Silly Yeti, $44 at Galatea Boutique at the Shops at Seaboard Station. http://www.galateaboutique.com/

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Five Fall Fashion Trends For Men

It is about time to begin to thinking about what fall fashion has to offer for men. Go ahead and try these fashions on for size!
  • Plaid warms up with bolder stronger hues. A plaid offers a crisp masculine look when paired with khaki, brown or any dark denim and a leather jacket for fall
  • A camel sweater is a wonderful neutral paired with a dress pant and casual boot. A pullover sweater with a zipper at the neck is a versatile look and especially nice with a crew neck color tee or a button down shirt
  • A toggle style jacket or coat in a dark color of navy or grey are wonderful additions as a wardrobe builder and a stylish look for fall
  • A backwoods boot (rugged looking with a dark rubber heal) looks best when neatly paired with jeans or for a tailored business casual look. Once you invest in a great pair of boots you will have them for years. The leather boot, once worn, actually looks better.
  • Lastly, a monk strap shoe will certainly put any conservative traditional oxford to shame. It offers a strong look and great alternative for men who like to step out of the box!
This fall, men’s clothing will be inspired by a bold military feel combined with a rugged outdoor look! I think country music star Blake Shelton could wear these looks well!

Send me your favorite men’s look for fall!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What does ‘summer casual’ for the office really mean?

This past Sunday the News and Observer carried an article from another syndicated paper about summer dressing in the workplace. Summer in the workplace tends to bring out the casual dress in people, and these days many offices allow it as a workplace perk. However, sometimes people do not recognize that there are some taboos, and that summer casual at the office doesn’t mean wear what you would out for a night on the town. And it really doesn’t mean wear what you want to a corporate retreat. Here are some tips and suggestions of things to avoid so you don't get called into the boss's office!
  1. More often than not during the summer, offices with allow Friday's to be dress down day, and typically relax the jeans rule to allow shorts, but this does not mean you should break out your shortest shorts or Daisy Dukes
  2. Leave the flips flops at home
  3. Sheer blouses should be worn with a camisole
  4. Mini-skirts and strapless tops are still taboo
The most important thing to remember is it isn't always about what you can wear so much as what you should wear. Do the clothes fit your body without showing more than is socially acceptable in the workplace? Your clothes shouldn't highlight one area of your body more than another, and if bare skin shows, it shouldn’t be because it has been squeezed out of too tight clothes. Casual doesn't give you the right to look sloppy.

As a final tip it is recommended for summer work events or outings to keep in mind it probably isn't the best place to wear a revealing halter top or a speedo to the law partner’s beach home. Bottom line is to remember to be a team player and look to your boss to set the tone!


Brand New: Check out my new blog on Examiner.com where I'm writing about fashion styles & trends in Raleigh. This week's installment - "Main and Taylor Made the Big Leap Into North Hills"

Friday, August 5, 2011

Undergarments - Take Care of Them so They Keep Holding You Together

I recently ordered some new foundations from a wonderful online company called Linda the Bra Lady. I giggled because I have a bra fitter at Belk at Crabtree that I call Betty the Bra Lady. I have used Betty the Bra Lady personally and for clients for years. I checked out Linda the Bra Lady because I was looking for something specific for a client and could not find it locally.

The website, www.lindasOnline.com, is worth checking out not only for the vast amount of styles and cup sizes, but is also a great resource for bathing suits. If I had known about it a month ago I could have used it as a great resource for myself. I did a great disservice to myself by waiting until mid-July to look for another bathing suit top! Imagine the stylist shopping for herself last! But I digress…

After talking to a very knowledgeable salesperson (my new BFF), I was able to increase my bra fitting insight ten-fold. This company can fit women from sizes AA-N cups. Now that is amazing! Move over Betty, Linda has entered the building. The bottom line is if you have a specific need, it is worth checking out your options with Linda the Bra Lady.

In the meantime, here is some great bra care advice that I received from Linda!

Hand Washing Your Bras
  1. Fill a basin with lukewarm water.
  2. Add Silk and Lingerie Wash as specified on the container, and actually a mild liquid soap is just fine.
  3. Soak lingerie overnight, although a good 15 minutes is fine, too.
  4. Rinse thoroughly to remove excess soap.
  5. Pat the bras dry and reshape the cup with your hands. It is important to avoid ringing to prevent straps or cups from taking on a new life form.
  6. Always hang to dry and whatever you do-don't put them in the dryer!
Storing Your Molded Bras
  1. Stack your bras in your drawer.
  2. Never invert one cup into the other. Doing it will destroy the fibers in the molding, and make the cups bumpy and shorten the life of the bra. Really?? Hmm....
  3. When traveling, pack your molded cup bras last, stacking on of top of each other and stuff the cups with panties so that they hold their shape. Hmmm, I wonder if my grandmother ever did this? Everything in her suitcase was always covered with tissue paper!
I like this Linda's advice!

Happy washing and caring for your bras!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Moving Down The Body......

So we all have breasts and a chest. Like I said when I started the first part of the series, we all have the same parts, just differently shaped. Again, we gotta work with what we have because for most of us plastic surgery is not an option!

Small-chested women may feel they get the raw end of the stick when it comes wearing many styles and silhouettes. Not so. Check out these tips!
  • Choose tops that have details around the neckline or gathered in at the bust to amplify the fullness of the chest.
  • Make sure your clothes are fitted to your body and avoid items that are shapeless.
  • Choose crew, boat or slight v-necks to keep the focus up around your chest and neck. Deep v-necklines and low plunging necklines will only draw the eye downward.
  • Select jackets or blouses that have ruffles, pockets or embellishments to add fullness in appearance to the eye.
Large chested women may have instant cleavage, but certainly they have their own set of challenges. Looking balanced and not top heavy requires a few tricks, as well.
  • V-necks and open necklines are the most flattering styles to not appear too top heavy or off balance.
  • Avoid shapeless tops, as you will appear frumpy. On the other hand, tops too tight will give you a sausage affect, so select carefully!
  • Select tops that come to your hipbone. It will elongate your torso, but also give you the balance needed.
Regardless of your chest size it is most important to get a good bra fitting twice a year by a certified bra fitter. Keep in mind that weight gain or loss, giving birth, or menopause changes the size of your bust. A good bra fitting will change the fit of your clothing. Clients are always amazed! So before you head out for any new fall clothes do yourself a favor and go get fitted.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This past Friday evening I attended an auction benefitting fashionSPARK at the Raleigh Institute of Contemporary Art. fashionSPARK is a part of Sparkcon and the Visual Art Exchange. fashionSPARK is in its’ sixth year and is the largest annual fashion show in the Triangle. It was a great experience meeting many of the designers and speaking to them about their ideas and inspiration. There is so much artistic talent in the Triangle that people don't know about!

Last year it drew a crowd of over 1,500 spectators in downtown Raleigh's City Plaza. fashionSPARK 2011,"Wear What You Are" will feature thirteen up and coming fashion, accessory and green designers throughout the Triangle. The show evokes and celebrates the true nature and joy of individual expression though fashion. This year’s event is September 15-18 in downtown Raleigh. I hope everyone will join me in supporting this event, especially with all the creative talent that we have in our own backyard.

Be sure to check out all my snaps from this Friday’s auction! (click to go to the Facebook gallery)
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