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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Silver bells for spring!

Enjoy transitioning your silver fall/winter pieces by adding a touch of soft teal or peach through your accessories. Silver bells for spring!

Dolce Gabbana lace jacket
£789 - farfetch.com

Ichi cropped blazer
€44 - welikefashion.com

Christopher Kane mini skirt
€1.020 - colette.fr

Todd Lynn mini skirt
$795 - net-a-porter.com

Tory Burch ballerina flat
£225 - harrods.com

Dorothy Perkins platform high heels
$69 - dorothyperkins.com

Bow clutch
$30 - dsw.com

Fiona Paxton silver cuff bangle
£135 - the-dressingroom.com

Wallis stone ring
£7.50 - wallis.co.uk

The Pantone Color Palette For Spring!

We’ve already seen some spring-like days around here, so the real deal can’t be far behind. And that means an infusion of color!

Each season, Pantone releases the color standards for the design industry. These are the colors fashion designers use in their collections, and almost everything you see in retail stores is based on this palette.

Yes, there are 10 colors, but you don’t have to incorporate every one of them into your wardrobe. With so many beautiful hues, you can be selective and still be stylish. Some of the colors will look better with your skin, hair and eyes – and with what you already have in your closet. If you’re dying to try Tangerine Tango or Cabaret but don’t want to make a big commitment, go for it in small doses – a scarf, a bangle, a belt or even toenail polish or lipstick. If you decide it works for you, branch out into other items. For those who wear all black all the time, a pop of color will freshen and enliven your monochromatic look! By the way, Pantone has dubbed Tangerine Tango the “Color of the Year,” so expect to see it everywhere.

If one of these spring swatches is your color, now is the time to scoop up multiple pieces in it. Cockatoo probably won’t come around again anytime soon!

One easy trick to get ahead of fall color trends is to buy basic items like camis and cardigans – on sale now – in colors that will be popular next autumn. As you can see from the chart, several of the colors from Fall 2011 are similar to what will be showing up in stores this August.

Likewise, look at the similarities between Spring 2012 and Fall 2012: At least five will translate into the next season. This spring's short-sleeve blouse becomes next fall's layering piece, and makes the cost-per-wear lower!

In the meantime, you might be interested in the Four Universally Flattering Colors. As Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, told Real Simple magazine last year, “Some colors work for all skin tones and hair colors, because they fall into the middle of the color spectrum, meaning they’re not too warm or too cool.”

Those colors are:

Eggplant, which Eiseman calls the “the perfect purple” because it is as versatile as black, dark brown or navy.

True Red, which is in the middle of the spectrum between a cool cherry red and a warm, tomato red.

Indian Teal, which is virtually seasonless.

Mellow Rose, which is between a light pink and a peach, highlights the natural flush of our skin.

What is your favorite spring color? Which Pantone color are you most likely to try? What is your favorite way to add color to an outfit?

Savvy Suzanne’s final thoughts ….. Dress for your lifestyle! Keep in mind that when building your lifestyle wardrobe, you want to select 5 colors. Black, brown, white and cream are given. By choosing five colors this will allow the opportunity to mix and match successfully and enjoy wearing your wardrobe year round.

Today’s blog was written by a guest blogger, Teresa Kriegsman. From speaking with her, it’s safe to say that Teresa Kriegsman has always loved clothes. Some of her earliest childhood memories involve prancing around in dresses her mother made wearing high heels borrowed from her grandmother. Teresa graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill before girls wore pajamas to class, and was most recently Design Editor at The News & Observer in Raleigh. She is currently obsessed with summer scarves and straw fedoras – and finding the ultimate cropped black pants.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Too Late for Valentine's Day Shopping?

What’cha wearing today for Valentine's Day?

No surprise to myself, or maybe others - I have waited a tad too late to look for something sexy to wear to wow my husband for the planned dinner date at our home. No need to eat out when I have fresh tuna steaks waiting to be grilled, a nice bottle of wine, and a few special candles. I was dreaming of a red dress, or something with maybe a plunging neckline, or sleeveless. Something other than my cotton animal print nightgown. Hmm, since I will be pulling something out of the closet, I thought I'd take a few minutes to do some last minute wishing.

One of the designers I really like for just that look is Rachel Pally. Her designs blend easy and elegant with a touch of chic and classic. That's a lot to envision, but I do get it. Her designs are shown in over 500 stores and boutiques and are worn by stars like Jennifer Judson, Heidi Klum, Jessica Parker, and Oprah. Size is clearly not a factor and she is able to translate her designs from size 2 to 22. Amen to that, a designer who is able to view women of all sizes, ages and races.

I met Rachel a few years back at Gena Chandler, a local boutique at North Hills. Very unpretentious, was that Jersey girl who did well and moved to LA, where she has her office and warehouse. Somehow, I missed her warehouse sale last week! Can you imagine flying in just for that sale? Big news for Rachel's fans is that on February 24th she is launching her line on QVC.

I expect for most designers that is a huge deal. I have to believe, or I want to believe, it will not be the same looks she sells in stores. Definitely worth checking out. She is also offering a deal for shoppers who sign up online for her email updates a 20% discount on your first order. Not bad.

I chose three garments to highlight, as part of my wish list that I wish I had ordered to wear today for Valentine’s Day (and may just be sold out by now). I just love something about each one. The burnt top obviously brings sexy into the look of shoulders, and would probably keep me warm if the wine didn't kick in. The one strap red dress is so Grecian looking, that feeling like a goddess would be my take on role playing. Hmm, wonder if that would be exciting for my husband? Lastly, the black swing dress would is key if I indulge in dessert. I will need that extra room to hide a bulging mid-section. Any of the three would have worked, too bad for me I wasn’t thinking about Valentine’s Day shopping last week.

So for all those who waited too late to buy that sexy outfit for tonight's special evening...we will have to get over it. Enjoy the evening and the special person in your life and go for the dessert!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fine Men's Clothing

There are men that prefer to order clothing in the privacy of their homes and offices. They don't enjoy hitting the stores or shopping on the internet, but appreciate the one on one service of an expert tailor and wardrobe consultant. Tom James, the world’s largest manufacturer and retailer of custom clothing, is offering just that service in over 100 cities throughout the country.

The company encourages clients to chat about purchases they made, and what they liked about the garments. The article I read was a push for three piece suits. Personally, I will take a man in a three piece suit any day. I love the sophisticated look of a tailored vest and I especially like when the suit jacket is

taken off for a more informal look of just the vest and pant. For most men, I expect the vest and pant is more comfortable, but still offers a look of appearing polished. I appreciate the casualness of this look with or without a tie. A vest ups the ante, whether it is business or out for the evening.

The company started in 1966 and has annual sales of over $250 million. Eighty percent of sales are generated from established customers and the clients enjoy the custom made to measure and ready-made executive apparel. Between the 500 suit fabrics, 250 shirt fabrics, and 1000's of ties to choose from, Tom James offers men a guarantee that the fit and style will be unlike anything you have every experienced. Over the years I have been approached by many Tom James consultants to refer my clients to what is offered by the company. It really is an experience to mull

over the fabrics, styles, and details of what custom suiting provides. For most of us, it isn't in the budget or fit our lifestyle. Obviously, for some it is a wonderful luxury, or maybe a needed convenience. I'll have to ponder that one. As for why I am blogging about Tom James, it is because I was approached once again to market their services to my clients, and thought I'd look into what they were doing as of late.

Vests generally come with two lower pockets, with or without chest pockets, and a choice of a lapel. Another notion of wearing a vest is that it is more slenderizing because the eye looks in one continuous line. It is no different than a woman dressing in monochromatic colors. The bigger decision for men is to purchase the same fabric as the coat and jacket or a buy a complementing fabric. Those clients that know me, remember that I am the "no matchy, matchy" queen. I like a little visual stimulation! Another thought is to not get the same fabric for your vest and to select a fabric that will complement another pant or even dark jean to wear more casually.

I really believe in lifestyle dressing and selecting items from your custom suit maker, stylist, or salesperson at the local bargain box that are versatile and not just for one occasion. There are times when a three piece suit in one color might be needed, but I am thinking that would be for more formal attire.

A final personal question to those who have had the experience of working with an expert tailor and consultant that helps you hand selects fabrics and silhouettes.....do you match your pocket square with your tie?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spring Sales Shopping!

Fill ‘er up! This is a great time to purchase some sale items or early spring hits to continue building your lifestyle wardrobe. I recently was checking out the company Madewell, who has been around since 1937 in Massachusetts, and they seem to carry some cool, well made basics. Madewell has a few stores sprinkled around the country, but like most stores these days, offers free shipping when your cart total reaches $100.

Check out what I have pulled together for my own lifestyle closet!

Dots and color blocking are making a big presence this spring, as it does so often. I found a really simple ink with red dot, slightly retro dress that is an easy lifestyle piece for me. Although it is not on sale, I can wear it with a white blouse, jackets and tights now, and in the spring I have a cropped white jacket that has a side tie closure I can wear with it. I'm actually thinking that I have a brighter red and navy thin silk scarf that would be fun, as well, to wear as a similarly patterned accessory.

I fell in love with this mulberry tickertape shift dress, with its’ loose fit, that was on sale. Often times I layer dresses with long sleeve fitted tees and tiered necklaces. Notice the cute pockets? Dresses like this either work or not, so if the pockets make you look wider in the hips, it's not for you, even if it does look cute on the hanger or website. I personally look for dresses for everyday wear that take me from day to evening, but mainly dresses that will easily take me into the next season in fabric. I prefer dresses that I can wear nine months out of the year. By the time June hits, I am looking for fabrics that are cool and wrinkle free. I call those dresses "throw and go” - I put them on and head out the door.

I also found a great retro inspired stretch jean on sale for $59.99. Jeans are hard to buy on the internet, but I especially like the front slit pockets and simple design, so I am going try them. I also appreciate the medium color wash. I see myself wearing this with my boyfriend style cardigans, fitted jackets, and a heel now. In the spring, I have several loose fitting tops that will work paired with a wedge sandal. When purchasing jeans, they need to be really versatile otherwise they aren’t a great lifestyle item to invest in. I do like to have a few different styles: one casual pair for running errands on weekends, one nice pair for going out, and lastly, a pair that might potentially be worn classically enough to go to work in.

Scouring the internet for potential fill in's and early spring items is always fun. I always try and make sure I buy items I can wear several ways for various occasions. A one occasion wear just doesn't fill up my closet much these days. Most every item I purchase now is multi-purpose and my challenge is to find it.

I would love to hear your tips on how you do that with your wardrobe!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Models Today

Today’s models project what kind of image? Often times, when I am flipping through magazines, I scratch my head. Not from an itchy scalp, obviously, but from the magazine’s choice of models. Often I compare Elle to Vogue or In Style, then Good Housekeeping to First for Women or O.

Very different demographics, but again what is the reality of what are they really saying with their model selection? I love this story, so let me recap. Katie Halchishick is a 26 year old model. She started modeling at 17 years old for agencies like Wilhelmina and Ford as a plus size model. Plus size models are generally a size 14. Which in my mind isn't actually plus size at all, but life size for a lot of people.

Katie started dating a body builder, and no big surprise, lost 50 pounds and got down to a size 8. Unfortunately, that left her with few interested clients to model for. There’s apparently not a market for a size 8 model. She was then told by agencies that if she got down to a size 4, she would pick up more work. If not, the agencies wanted her to wear fat suits with padding to bulk up for her remaining modeling commitments. Basically, she was out of a job.

Since she did not want to wither down to a size 4, she finished up her contracts and opened her own agency, called Natural Model Management. Her mission was to promote "healthy as the new skinny". The agency offers models in non-traditional or “straight” sizes of 6-10. The agency also states that Natural values models and their natural build and body size and encourage models to find a healthy balance in life and in their bodies. Sing that story, sister!

The conflict for me comes in a recent controversial editorial that appeared on the online Plus Model Magazine where straight size models where shown embracing wearing pads and fat suits. What kind of message is that sending? Regular size models being padded to look heavier?

Some retailers are doing a better job with using straight size models, like JC Penney. JCP has realized their buyer is more likely to be a curvier size 10 than size 2. The curious thing for me is the question of when are big box retailers and magazines going to start using size 6-10 size models instead of size 2?

I think television commercials, whether it is household products or lifestyle products, are doing a better job with it than print commercials. I am not sure that has always been the case, but have you noticed that people on commercials are looking more "normal" and the actors not always so pretty?

Several years ago, Dove launched a beauty campaign for and about real women. Remember seeing women of all size and races, beautiful from the inside and out? Although a highly successful campaign, it has been interesting that other companies have not followed suit. As our country continues to fight the challenge of obesity, I am wondering if we will ever see the likes of a size 8 Kate Moss making an impact in the fashion world. What do you think?

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