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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Many thanks to The Limited!

So Charlotte Fashion Week was pretty darn terrific! If you have been following me on Twitter and Facebook, you have seen my various looks each night. I felt like a princess and loved having the opportunity to have my hair and make-up done to highlight my dress. When The Limited agreed to dress me for the event, I knew that what I chose would have to highlight each night’s events on the runway. The first night’s show, I wore the very streamlined and fitted raspberry and slate grey dress. It was rusched at the top in raspberry and fitted in the slate grey towards the bottom. Boy, was it fitted. Thank G-d for the old Spanx! The dress was perfect for an evening that highlighted local stores such as Saks OFF5th, Nitsa's Apparel, and Sada Fashions, to name a few. My hair was blown out, soft curls were put in, and a very smoky berry eye. I was perfectly dressed for the occasion. You know how easy it is to be over or underdressed!

The second evening I wore a one shoulder, aubergine dress with a twisted flower on the shoulder stopping right above my chest. I can't tell you how many people I interviewed who commented about how pretty the dress was. I was quick to mention to a designer that asked who I was wearing that it was from The Limited. The initial response was "shut up"! I laughed, realizing it was actually a compliment that many people are quick to judge a particular store by its’ history. I am going on the record to say, just as people change, stores grow and move towards what they want to be, frequently by adding an element to their strategy. The Limited has done that and I was feeling marvelous! I went with a soft eye, heavy eyeliner and a loose side bun. All I needed by the end of the night was a good foot rub from my husband. The dress, the hair and the make-up definitely held up longer that I did. The whole look once again complimented the designers, including Navy and Pearls, Tsvety Fashions, and sassy Mew Designs.

The last evening I chose a black v-neck lace neckline and softly tiered dress. The dress came with a fitted black belt with a black embellished center. Have to wear a LBD for the finale, right? I wore my hair in a high woven bun with soft green eye shadow. I loved the black tie dressier look and I was really happy with my lower heeled Stuart Weitzman pumps! The final show was highlighted by the couture designers, so it was only fitting I dress in black.

If you have to know which one was my favorite, I may be hard pressed to answer. Any or all three would be fabulous wardrobe builders! Lucky for the women that will get these donated fashions from The Limited!

Again, special thanks to The Limited. I had numerous compliments every night from both men and women about the dresses, which is a good sign, if a woman is willing to be that gracious. I always felt very chic and dressed to fit the evening. Everything I wore can be found online at http://www.thelimited.com/ on the wedding and events pages.

I will be happy to share about fit and fabric if anyone would like to know the specifics!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Please let the party go on!

It would be hard for me to say that I didn't enjoy every minute of Charlotte Fashion Week. As the last runway show geared up on Saturday night, I grabbed my camera man Josh, and I proceeded to enter the VIP lounge to interview many of the guests that I hadn’t had a chance to interview during the previous nights.

As I move towards this women and her extremely tall partner, I'm thinking, ok.... he has to be an ex-basketball player. Right I am, but as I introduce myself, I realize I have come face to face with Shekina Moore of Sokina Designs, a woman I had interview two months before at the Red Carpet Fashion Lounge. She showed her line on the runway and it was huge hit! She was now sporting a pregnancy and truly glowed. Small world, but then again it was another fashion event so I shouldn't be surprised!

As the interviews progressed, I interviewed many people in the fashion industry, athletes and people that appreciated great fashion and wanted to be a part of what was coming next to a store near them. I interviewed a group of five women fully decked out in fishnet tights, boots over the knee, plunging necklines, leather and fur combinations and yes, my favorite, animal print shoes. Of course, they way they lined up and proceeded to field my questions made me stop in mid-stream to ask the obvious. Where they the designated Charlotte housewives?

I continued to move from the guests and then to the back room where the designers and make-up and hair stylists were housed. I attempted to snag just a few designers before the final line up began. I caught one or two designers and then went out to watch the show. Finished with work, and now on to the best part of the evening!

I knew that Bill Evans was going to be showing men’s smoking jackets made of upholstery weight and fine fabrics acquired throughout the world. I couldn't wait to see how they would translate to the runway, especially since many of them would be modeled by women only wearing the tights and jacket. One silk gold and black horizontal stripe didn't disappoint. The model’s hair was carefully coiffed and a burglar’s eye mask was painted on her face. Bill's smoking jackets were so well received that the audience rose to their feet in appreciation of his creativity.

Another highlight of the evening was Eleanor Morgan, a designer from Charleston, whose burnout designs trimmed with gold leaf was outstanding. The attention to detail between the underlay of fabrics from the sheer to the heavily embellished had many of the audience clapping. A note of interest is that Eleanor is a graduate from NC State School of Textile and Design.

My favorite designer of the entire week was Cory Corture. Cory's designs were truly extravagant with layers upon layers of fabric building pillows of billowing fabric. I felt as though I was seeing costumes designed for the museum of history and dress. The coordinating headwear, jackets and capes truly were breath taking. Talk about a finale!

The audience was really treated to some spectacular designs over the course of the three day event. I marveled at the local support through stores and merchants, the major sponsors, and the general public. We went from a good turnout on Thursday night to a fully packed house on Saturday night. What I did realize is how exciting this event is and the importance of highlighting up and coming designers. All it takes is one show to launch a designer who is seen by a buyer to have their goods being worn by the public!

I have to commend the crew that I know worked so hard to make this all happen. Anthony Simons, Director of Plitz Fashion Marketing Charlotte, Kayla Rose, Patricia Woo, who kept the all the models and designers on cue, Soraya Williams and Wayne Shields from Plitz Fashion Marketing NYC, and Samantha Busch, the host and the many others who made it come together. It was a wonderful production and I am so happy to have been the back of the house commentator.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ramping it up!

Friday night’s fashions at Charlotte Fashion Week were really fabulous!  I was feeling quite marvelous myself. My rolled pin curls that sat for several hours in my hair when pulled out left me with a soft and curly side bun. My make-up went from heavy smoke eyes from the day before to a neutral eye with smudged liner. Now we’re talking!

After my prompt 6 o'clock arrival, I met with Josh, my camera man for the night. So the interviews began.

Soraya Williams is as lovely in stature as she is to look at. She is the President and Chief Executive of Plitzs Fashion Marketing. I met her briefly on Thursday night right after she arrived, barely making it to see the first show. Those tricky flight arrival and departure times…..

Again, I am tall, but some of the women I have encountered the past few days are really tall and lean. Soraya works in New York and does Fashion Week with Plitz Marketing in February. This year they are doing a show pitting model against model and designer against designer. Does the theme sound familiar?

Last night also brought entertainment. The show kicked off with a special guest performance with a young woman named K-RISS and her four back up dancers. Her singing and dancing is hip hop funk and she is all about dancing to the music. She is young and fresh and has already had a seamstress and a jeweler working on her stage designs. Oh, how young they are!

Back to a few other highlights of the evening. Annelise Mann is a designer from the area and showed off her line, Navy and Pearls. She used a lot of sheer and light fabrics and nautical stripes in dresses, skirts and jackets. The garment that most impressed me was the layered white wedding dress with strands of pearls draped over the arms and across the body. Hard visual, but believe me, I was pretty spellbound. I met Annelise at the after party and asked about her inspiration. She believes in women’s empowerment and women being true to themselves and others. Strong women and strong design, but with the pearls to soften. Clever branding, huh?

One of my favorite looks was by designer Megan Waldrep from Charleston South Carolina, of MEW Designs. She did these wild abstract loose stripes of silver and woven white/clear fabric in a pant, worn with a simple tee shirt and heels, and a bolero jacket. She also did shorts. All three items were in the same fabric, but each worn separately and made a statement on their own. I was sold! If I could just rock them! Megan has the personality to match what she does. Clever, sassy and a go-getter! Megan and her best friend Emily Bargeron, a fellow designer, trade off assisting with each other’s shows.

Both women participated in Charleston Fashion week several years ago and were upset when they realized they could not partake again due to a pretty common policy of allowing designers a one time opportunity, so they decided to do their own thing. They have come up with the "unofficial " kick off fashion show for Charleston Fashion Week to raise money and awareness about  autistic children by benefitting Surfer’s Healing (surfershealing.org). Professional surfers work with the children at camps around the world and teach them to surf, as the water has proven to be very therapeutic to kids suffering from autism. Who knew? This show is now professionally run and in its’ fourth year. The gals are thrilled on how it gives them an opportunity to give back to the community and show their designs. Both Jeannie and I will be traveling to Charleston to be a part of the event! No way I'm gonna do the surf board thing......but I will be watching from my beach towel under my umbrella, drinking my favorite adult beverage. AHHHH...

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about Thomas Ruffin, the designer of T.2 Design Group. I know earlier I tweeted out that I was standing next to Usher in a picture. Well, it wasn't actually Usher, but close enough. The white jacket and pants were the designs of Thomas. The one thing that I have found most interesting is the fact that many of the designers have full time jobs and design on the side. Thomas is an elementary teacher and has been designing for years. I loved what he showcased. He had men’s jackets and shirts. Many of the items came out in a similar form for women, and he had a really cohesive line for the show. My absolute favorite item was a dress with a sweetheart neckline, fitted waist and tiered bottom with lots of movement. It was so soft and feminine, but also made me want to go salsa dancing. We better talk to my husband about that. He has seen my two left feet. Anyway, I found myself cheering for Thomas and enjoyed seeing his wares on the runway as much as I enjoyed interviewing and chatting with the camera man he brought down.

A final shout out to Tvsety McAuliffe. Stunning fabrics and some beautiful dresses. I expect we will see much more of her to come. A Bulgarian native, she has a stunning view of fashion, a clearly defined line, and a beautiful aesthetic.

Another wonderful evening, but switching to lower heels for Saturday. My dogs are barking! I even had one security guard ask me how many laps I do a night, in and out of the designers cave, watching the frenzy of it all unfold before me!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kicking it off with cute kids!

Last night’s start of Charlotte Fashion Week was with a Gap Kids Fashion Show. Samantha Busch came up on the stage and gave her introductions to get the show going.

Let me back up to the afternoon, though, since there is a lot of work that goes into a fashion show for everyone (including the kids). So, as I have mentioned dozens of times, The Limited sponsored my duds for all three nights, which was really great since I got to see all their new stuff when I did their grand opening at Streets of Southpoint. Sometime mid-afternoon I tromped up the hill a few blocks with my tight bad-ass jeans on and my signed Vince Camuto shoe boots. I was feeling pretty shee-shee to go and get my hair and make-up done by the beauty stylist assigned to me (who was also doing the models for the show).

Met with the lead make-up artist, Shari, and showed her my dress. We discussed a smoky eye. Thursday I rolled into Bobbi Brown at Crabtree Mall where I met a regional representative who did a fabulous job on my smoky eye for Wednesday night’s charity event. Shari was great, but I was slightly concerned that I look like someone slugged me and my eye was purple. Nothing that couldn't be toned down, right?

Marissa was very young but she did do a good job with the old locks, after all. A little curl here and there, and something that would hold all night. I said I was easy to style, but I definitely have my own thoughts about my hair and make-up. Hey, it only took me 25 years to realize I look better as a brunette and not a blond.

I did feel pretty great in my outfit though. I could definitely hold my own against those models. Not! LOL

Back to Gap Kids and the start of the show. I’d watched the kids while I was getting hair and make-up done, and I knew they’d have a long day, so I was curious to watch them on the runway. The show kicked off with the first young model, Marissa, who I interviewed the night before at the charity event. Sassy at 6 is amazing! The fashions and models were fabulous. It quickly brought me back to when my kids were young and dressing from Gap Kids. Lots of play on layering, mixture of patterns, leggings, jackets and jeans, and even Hello Kitty tees with glitter came into view. The kids stole the show, some with their swagger, blowing of kisses, waves to the crowd and hip jerking movements. The crowd ate it up and my heart melted. I expect it will be a while before I am dressing grandkids.

During the evening before the show and in between sets, I had a microphone and an opportunity to interview many people. A few of the highlights that come to mind was a woman who was there to photograph the event. Mia was quite a beauty herself and she had this sassy haircut and great big oversized gold hoop earrings. I love it when women wear things so confidently.

I also interviewed two men, John and Jacque. John looked quite dapper in his candy apple, red and white striped shirt with French cuffs and aviator sunglasses. His buddy Jacque, whose profession I didn't catch or he didn't mention, was the guy who had it going on. He had on a three piece denim suit stitched back in gold. His pants were baggy, the vest fitted and the jacket more of a duster. It was his creation and only he could probably carry it off without looking like a gangster. It was a fantastic look for him, and definitely eye-catching in the front row.

I also met and chatted with another local stylist. Ryan is doing his thing with clients and looked quite rocking with his navy and white spotted shirt and soft pink tie and pocket square. Personally, I would have thrown in a paisley pocket square and called it a day! Can’t wait to see what he’s wearing tonight….

Some of the other highlights of the evening were a young woman by the name of Alexis Scott with a line by the name of Sada. Her design inspiration has been her mother and she doesn't have a particular look she is going after. She showed diverse looks, including a high-waisted pencil skirt and short bolero style, fitted short sleeve jacket, and sheer camel shirt. The fabric of the jacket and skirt was similar to Burberry’s signature plaid design. I also really liked her creative use of men’s neckwear in a red tie worn with a Peter Pan collar.

The show stopper of the evening was Stephanie Teague, designer of the eco line Pretty Birdie. She designs and uses all eco-friendly sustainable and recycled fabrics. She sells now on Etsy and designs and sews all her designs by hand herself. Her designs are all very wearable, with comfort and creativity all rolled up into one. Even the very simple cotton a-line, v-neck flowered dress was fabulous. As the model turned the corner, I saw this very easy dress instantly appear chic with a low back come into view. The elbow length, moss-colored, full neck sweater could easily be worn alone with jeans or leggings, layered with a blouse, or over a dress. Simple chic was what Stephanie showed and the crowd ate it up.

Last night was just the beginning of what I expect to be a fabulous next couple of days. The venue couldn't be better as well. The Epicenter in downtown Charlotte has an upper floor patio area complete with a stage and bar. As I continue to reflect on last night’s event while sucking down my Starbucks, I get chills just thinking about what tonight might bring. Hmmm, I know I am excited, but then again maybe it is the room’s air conditioning that is causing me to shiver. Gotta run and head to hair and make-up once again....

Tonight I am wearing my one shoulder aubergine dress from The Limited.......ahhhh…..

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hi ho, hi ho, off to Charlotte Fashion Week we go!

Yesterday I headed out from Raleigh with my partner in crime, Jeannie.  Getting to Charlotte for fashion week was an exciting trip - with the torrential rains that made the two and a half hour ride a very long three hour ride and limited munchies of only pistachios and a bottle of water, we fought the rains, crazy drivers and what seemed to be endless construction.

On the way we decided to stay local instead of braving the roads and weather to get back. Booked on Priceline on the way - thankfully they have an app for that! Arriving at the hotel and quickly trying to change into formal attire to attend the fundraiser kick-off reception was no easy feat, either. My dress, which I had only worn only one other time at another fundraiser, was not working. Stylist malfunction - OMG.

The dress offers about 6 different ways to be worn, wrapping the long front panels around my body. I prayed for no wardrobe malfunction during the event and made Jeannie promise she would keep an eye out to make sure that didn't happen. Luckily, our hotel was only three blocks from the event. Finally, we made it up to the 7th floor private party of the hotel where I was greeted by Anthony Simon, the executive director of Charlotte Fashion Week. I was immediately whisked away and handed a microphone.

Samantha Busch
My fist interview was Samantha Bush, the host of the event. What a cute young thing. She’s really sweet and a little nervous about the new and exciting opportunity ahead of her. As we chatted, I made her feel at ease by talking about things she was most comfortable speaking about. Fitness and shoes - two of my favorite topics! On to what was almost a blur of interviews.

Troy Pelshak
I met Troy Pelshak, who played football for the St. Louis Rams. Troy was the guest speaker for the evening benefitting the American Cancer Society. He spoke of the loss of his father to cancer within three months of being diagnosed. He is a very eloquent speaker and you could tell he really cares about defeating cancer. Besides his moving words to the crowd gathered for the fundraiser, I could not take my eyes off the fabulous mandarin color embroidered shirt he wore. Custom made, no doubt!

Lots of fabulous fashion going on, too. Women in all sorts of dresses - short and long, loose, fitted and more fitted, as well as a few I would not dare to comment on. I met two young women who were wearing one designer’s gowns, too. The designer couldn’t be there, but the girls were busy showing off her style.

I saw quite a bit of animal print in all shapes and forms including a shoe boot, a hat, and dress. Animal print for some reason makes me want to growl! The cutest interview was with a six year old who will be modeling in tonight’s fashion show for GapKids, and she was wearing a great animal print. A girl after my own heart! She is already a fashionista in the making and with her smile and big brown eyes, I just wanted to warn the mother to hold onto her hat. I expect to see this little fashionista on many more runways!

Wayne Shields
As the evening wound down, I tried to step back and take it all in. I met dozens of people - designers, Anthony's partner Wayne Shields from Plitzs Fashion Marketing, NFL players (Natrone Means!), models, another stylist from Charlotte and yes, the DJ's assistant wanting to meet a stylist. Ask me how much I slept last night? Between Jeannie sounding like a snuffleupagus and thinking about the nights events, it wasn't much.

Gotta run - off to get my hair and make-up done for tonight’s first fashion show. Is this fun or what?!?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Say cheese, Suzanne.....

Thursday was all about working on the photography portion of my new website. All I know is that I really can't stand the mug that is being shown presently on my FaceBook account and I am eager to get that woman who I think is me in that designer starched white blouse off the screen. Imagine that, a stylist disliking her own pictures. I wish you all had a little camera into my world last night, as I often remind myself that I shop always for me last. Clients first, and then, if I am lucky to leave town for a brief stint, I like to shop.

Wednesday night I proceeded to go through my wardrobe pulling out things that would potentially photograph well and highlight my new dark hair and bright hazel eyes. A closet consultation for me, really. I took about 7 dresses to my one of my favorite jewelers and good friend, Christine Jones. It is not like I don't have a nice collection of accessories, but then again why not see what Chris might have. That's what good friends are for, right?

After an hour of talking business and some other choice topics, I load my arms back up and leave with what many might say a doggy bag or a good bag of earrings and necklaces. I can't wait until her daughter starts wearing her mother’s jewelry! I choose 3 outfits for my photo shoot. These pictures will hopefully cover any pictures needed for the next couple of years, provided I don't go back to blond (no way, Jose!) or get a face lift. No to both, I love my wrinkles.

Back to my outfits. I chose a red dress that yes, I have to admit, has been waiting for the right occasion and the right body. Since neither has come of late, I realize it’s now or never! The little black dress was adorned by a rather large necklace of green and silver. Are you getting the visual? Lastly, I did a deep purple blouse and a black skirt for my "official" business look. I had all my bases covered and I trucked over to my new best friend’s photography studio. Let me just say this. After a grueling hour and a half you want your photographer to help you work that lens. And I mean work it! For the next 10 days Glen Parson is going to be my best friend. He shot me Thursday, he shot me Friday with my dog and a few clients for my website, and next week for Charlotte Fashion Week. He, along with my partner-in-crime Jeannie, is going to move me and photograph me with every designer, hair stylist, make-up artist, and star wanna-be for the event. So, it is all about Glen!

The second half of my day was equally as exciting. The Limited has graciously offered to sponsor my outfits for Charlotte Fashion Week. I trucked to Crabtree and went through the box that was sent from corporate. I love the three outfits I chose along with the fun acceccories. It is important for me to not be the belle of the ball, because it should be all about the people I will be interviewing. Let me just say, as Jeannie reminds me often, ‘Suzanne it isn't always about you.’ LOL. The manager Emily and her assistant were great. I only had an hour and I am all about making it happen. The clothes I chose for Charlotte Fashion Week from The Limited will be donated to charity when I am done. How wonderful is that! Can't wait to get on the runway and meet all the models and the host, Samantha Busch. I will be the on-site host which will include me flying by the seat of my dress to wherever the action is. I can't wait. But in the mean time, check out my dresses that I have selected from The Limited!

Stay tuned for more to come. Do you think I should casually mention to my old dog Skip to my Loo that we will be photographed together for my new website? Nah, she’s is snoring……better let her rest for the busy day ahead!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's all about your lifestyle

Wheels For Samantha winner Nancy Miller
You gotta love it! Free consult and $200 to spend at Macy's! This past Wednesday I met with Nancy Miller, the winner of the "Wheels for Samantha" gift certificate donated by myself and Macy's for her mini shopping spree. What to spend the $200 on? Hmm....how do you begin to decide? Well, for me it would be a no-brainer. It is not going to be housewares, make up, perfume, or lingerie.

I frequently talk about lifestyle dressing. So, as I sat down with Nancy Miller, that’s what we began to talk about. What is her everyday lifestyle like? Here are a few things to think about before shopping:

•    Do you work outside the home and, if so, what is the atmosphere?
•    What do you usually do nights and weekends?
•    Do you like easy care fabrics and will you buy items that need dry cleaning?
•    Do you prefer pants, skirts or dresses?
•    Heels or flats or maybe boots for fall?
•    What is your biggest fashion challenge?

So game on! Nancy has a very casual lifestyle, and works in an office that is very business casual. No jeans are allowed, with the exception of colored jeans, and the office is generally chilly. Nancy mentioned that she would love a pair of jeans. Great, because I love that Macy's carries about 10 different lines from Tommy Hilfiger, Lucky, Calvin Klein, to their own private brand, Style and Co, just to name a few. It was time to man up!

Nancy is loving her new fall jacket.
As we buzzed around the ladies department, we picked up about 8 pairs of jeans, several tops, and a wonderful brush cotton suede teal jacket. When trying on jeans you just gotta got for it. Most brands today actually have a tag that will tell you what the fit will be. An example is the tag description ‘sits below natural waist with flare leg’. Can't get better than that! Here are tips for trying on jeans:

•    Sizes, along with fit, will vary so don't get discouraged about a size
•    Dark washes are always more flattering
•    If you have a larger caboose, avoid back pockets and any details
•    Boot cut or flair leg style jeans helps elongate the legs
•    Lastly, make sure the jean has spandex and lycra for a more comfortable stretch fit

The shopping spree was a hit! Nancy rocked her new jeans, along with a few great tops and her lovely teal jacket. As we headed off to get a pair of boots with her remaining $75 dollars, we both cheered knowing what great values she got. The trick to smart shopping is to take time to evaluate what you need and then start hunting. Buy what you need and not what you want. Prioritize your needs and if you don't find it then go elsewhere!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Charlotte Fashion Week

Exciting news! I'm back on it! Yeah, I am very pumped! I am going to be the on-site host for Charlotte Fashion Week - September 22-24. I am going to do the on-site commentary back stage, on the red carpet and anywhere else where things are going on. I will be chatting with local celebrities, Nascar drivers, designers, IN STYLER lead hair stylist Dean Banowetz and anyone else who has it going on! Three days of fabulous fashion and you don't want to miss it! If you can't make it, then watch for my tweets @SavvySuzanne, on my blog, or on Facebook. Guess who has stepped up to dress me......The Limited - my new BFF! I will be wearing the clothing from the wedding and events line, available online from the Limited! Bet you didn’t know they did events and weddings did you?!? If you want to go, or want to know what the events are (and to keep an eye out for me), check their website at charlottencfashionweek.com.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another day in my life as a stylist.....still having too much fun....

So, I have one client that I have worked with for so long that the way we banter back and forth it’s like we’re siblings. I really get a kick out of her and we laugh about some of the random things that often come up in our everyday lives. She is quite petite and very physically fit. When she tries on clothes and comments on her fat, sagging skin (there is absolutely none) or aging face, I usually roll my eyes and answer with a smart comment. I mean, really! Over the years she has gone from business suits and dresses, to very business casual, to jeans and boots.

The best thing about having a client for years is that you know their inner sense of style, and can not only stroll down memory lane with them, but you can adjust to the changes in lifestyle that cause changes in the way your client dresses without struggling to figure out what the style should be. I remember the days of purchasing killer high heel shoes and structured suits for her. From there we have moved into dresses, mainly cotton, a few lower heels, and a slew of boots, from Western to dress. We also went through a belt and scarf phase and some great costume jewelry.

Regardless of how she has evolved with her wardrobe and the changing roles in her career, we have always had fun doing it. Today’s adventure was no different. Her new dog Molly greets me at the door and proceeded to lick every inch of my legs! Ugh! My old dog Skip to My Loo (yes, that really is her name) is always looking at me strangely when I return home from a day’s work, eyeing me as if I am a traitor and sniffing around me. After 13 years Skip still thinks it is necessary to throw guilt my way.....

One thing I have learned at client’s homes is to ask after meeting their pets for the first time, where the dog treats are. I'm no fool, and if I can race to a client’s kitchen and snatch a treat to feed to the pet, I will save myself and my legs from getting an additional bath from a tongue that has been g-d only knows where. Yuck.

After the brief closet consult (my client cleans out mostly on her own now), I rummage through the pile and take what she isn't going to wear to bring to consignment. There are usually a few items with price tags in the pile, so I try to encourage her to keep the item and wear it. We now catalog items in a few categories:

•    BS (before Suzanne)
•    PBS (picked by Suzanne) and lastly,
•    PBC (picked by client).

I tend to argue when items are consigned and discarded with tags that clearly have been labeled by PBS! Not on my watch, and why aren't you wearing that? Because we know one another so well, we tend not to discuss it for too long. She may give in but then I may find it next season still with its’ tags on it.

So the point of all this is.....buy only what you will wear and never, and I mean never, buy out of guilt or thinking that maybe someday you will wear it and warm up to it. You just won’t.

As I mentioned earlier, my client wanted just a few things to spruce up her wardrobe for the upcoming season (fall/holiday/winter/whatever). It usually starts with dresses. So we traveled to Stephanie's in Rocky Mount. For many of you scratching your head, yes, I did say Rocky Mount, despite the wonderful shopping in the Triangle. Rocky Mount is the hidden little treasure that has some great, well priced lines, in a store called Stephanie’s.

Starting from Wake Forest and using my GPS was something else, though. We were guided on every back road possible before finally connecting with 64 West. Not only did we see where most farmers in Franklin County are selling their fruits and vegetables this season, but also I now fully understand Dollar General’s target market. After 29 miles of driving, we decided we were in dire need of a Starbucks. The GPS was at it again, but this time we realized it was probably located in the local Target. It was a small town, and, ok, so what if I was getting quite a few stares from the locals. Not good stares, either. Here I am in my heels towering over 5'10 maybe ‘11 in a slightly, and I mean ever so slightly, trendy outfit (this outfit probably wouldn't get a designer to even look up) and my petite, maybe 5' client in her t-shirt, torn jeans and flip flops. Talk about not judging a book by its’ cover.

The Starbucks employee didn't seem to like my fully doctored coffee order or perky tone, either. I think she was having a Monday, and wishing it was Friday - we’ve all had those days, right? On we went to Stephanie's. Did I mention that I was in a loaner car and that the empty gas light was illuminated? First gas station I pulled into obviously had pumps. I didn't see a charge card space so I trotted into the shop with my $10 to put in the tank. The man came around from the back office and I said I will take $10 on pump one. He said " Lady, I haven't had gas here since 2009." Was I in a time warp or did this station actually have pumps but no gas? A gas station, I guess not, but what then? We still had no gas. My client laughed so hard, I thought she was going to spit up her frozen Starbucks concoction. Rest assured, we did find a gas station with pumps and actual gas.

Perfect Jacket for any
Country-Western singer.

Finally arriving at Stephanie's we find a few great tops, a pair of jeans and yes......drum roll, please. Sweater jackets appropriate for the dozen dresses she has in her closet to help her transition her clothes from summer to fall. I have been on the search for just this thing for years! Feeling triumphant, we drive back to Raleigh, avoiding the back roads from our earlier ride. From Zebulon to Knightdale we see the skies darken and in a distance, torrential rain ahead. What we were about to drive into was gonna be ugly. Ugly it was, and yes, I worried about being in a loaner car that I was concerned didn't handle as well as my own. We did make it back safely, if more slowly than the trip out.

Great Lemon Bomber Jacket.
So, all is well that ends well. Best part of my day was two-fold. Finding the unexpected surprise of sweater jackets that we having been hunting for years and my old dog Skip didn't catch on to that Molly had been licking me legs! Whew, now that’s what I'm talking about!

Stay tuned to for updates on my redesigned website...coming soon to wardrobeconsulting.biz!

Friday, September 2, 2011

What do you mean...Really?

What a glorious day to go shopping, checking out fall goods and yes, I have to admit, I had a motive to be hitting the stores. I was pre-shopping for a client who has beautiful hand painted and wonderfully woven scarves that needed some simple tops to highlight the beauty of the accessories. After a grueling 3.5 hour meeting with my marketing person, I was primed and excited to stretch my legs and start shopping. Ever had that fist pumping kind of excitement, wondering what you might find, and really excited to find out what it is? So what if I am a little over the top when it comes to looking at clothing.

By the way, have I mentioned that I am having my website redone and totally updated to better match what Wardrobe Consulting is doing these days? I have decided to pursue a whole new color scheme of navy and camel. My WC logo is about to be shelved, as well. Now look, it has been wonderful for the past almost 20 years, but don't you think it is time to hang it up and do as I always tell my clients? Update, update, update….everyone needs an update at least every decade if not sooner. Now, I'm obviously talking about clothes .....

Cruised by Galatea today to see what possibilities they had for my client. Susan, the store manager, is great about highlighting new items. Check out the trunk show they have coming up, should be quite cool! Local designer and his first trunk show - should be a great opportunity to buy stuff no one else has!

Galatea Boutique is hosting the trunk show on Saturday, Sept. 10, for Tierra Ideas. Matt Mahler is a local designer who makes eco-friendly bags from inner tubes donated by Performance Bicycle and upcycled aircraft textiles donated by Delta Air Lines. Ten percent of the proceeds are donated by Tierra Ideas to Delta's chosen charitable organization, which has been the Nature Conservancy. Tierra Ideas has been featured in USA today and Diane Sawyer's "Made in America," so be sure to come meet the designer and order your sustainable, locally made bag at his first trunk show. If you already have plans that day, be sure to check his inventory at http://www.tierraideas.com/

Next, I went to Crabtree Mall and started my path at Ann Taylor, where they had a fabulous chartreuse button down sweater with a darker coppery sequin top. I saw tons of tones of greens, olives, browns and caramels - rich tones that will work with navy, stone, black and brown. I hope, if you don't have a sequin top already in your wardrobe, you try one on and see how you like it. Let me know if you have questions on how to wear sequins anything. It's easy, and not just for the holidays!

Next, I cruised on to Nine West, but not before I stopped at White House Black Market. Years ago I wondered how long that store could be profitable selling just white and black items. I think it was about five years ago that the company changed their tune and started to bring in beige and a few other colors intermittently. I saw a great three mannequin display as I cruised into the store. The middle outfit was a channel style jacket paired with a print blouse with cobalt blue and red roses. Loved the pattern mixing. The other two mannequins were more simply dressed but accessorized to the hilt. As I was snapping a picture to tweet it how much I loved it, I was stopped by a salesperson and asked if I was taking a photo to send to a friend. I mentioned that I was a stylist and I wanted to tweet the picture out. She proceeded to tell me it was against company policy and that I couldn't take a picture. I was so stunned I just replied, “Really?” She reiterated it again, so I did a quick sweep for what I was hunting for and left the store. Not without snapping a picture of their windows on the way out. If anyone, and I mean anyone, gets that store policy, please explain it to me, ‘cuz I really need a proper explanation. This world is all about doing the social media thing right?

Next stop, the Nine West store. I was still foaming at the mouth at what had just happened at White House Black Market, so this time I asked if I could take a snap. The store manager was so friendly and thrilled that I wanted to take a picture, she even helped me figure out how to eliminate pictures on my Driod to make room for the pictures I wanted to take. This is when my family would be rolling their eyes at my lack of understanding of my cell phone. Check out this hot looking blue, black and brown python and the matching bag. Now that is a killer shoe. She offered to let me try it and we had further dialogue about a pair of black sequin boots that I enquired about. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

All in all, it was great being out in the stores and seeing what fall fashions have begun to make their way to the front of the stores. Don't forget this weekend is going to be a killer weekend for all last ditch efforts for great buys on summer items. Shop the stores with nothing in mind and I expect you will find at least one treasure, if not a few!

P.S. Again, if anyone knows about White House Black Market’s crazy policy I would love to hear a further explanation. You'd think that after 20 plus years in retail I would have seen and heard everything!
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