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Saturday, September 29, 2012

London Fashion Week!

When NYFW is over, buyers, celebs and anyone else who follows, loves and lives runway couture heads to London, where I can easily imagine that it was a little colder than it is in the balmy SouthEast.

Some of the designers to look for this coming year are Willow, Preen, Antonio Berardi, Jonathan Saunders, Erdem, Pringle of Scotland, and what was lauded in the press as the 'winner' of fashion week - the British fashion staple, Burberry. Love, love, love the shoes from Sophia Webster, too!

Let me know what you think of the fashion - check all the lookbooks at London Fashion Week.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Can We Learn From NY Fashion Week?

There are always a lot of things to learn from the new designs on the runway. The one thing to remember if you are watching on a designers website or YouTube, the models are just that - models. If you see a pattern you like, or a silhouette that is close to what you normally wear, go with it.

We discussed the Pantone color palette this spring, and the color for spring is described as African violet. Look this fall as summer wraps up and things go on sale to purchase shades of purple if you come across them - it'll fit in perfectly next spring. Some of the other trends noted at NYFW were light and gauzy fabrics, a short skirt underneath a see through material that is likely color blocked or having an architectural hem, and some very simple shapes.

While you're thinking about spring, take a look at the clothes in your closet now. As summer winds down and you start changing out your closet from summer to fall/winter, make plans to visit your tailor with items you won't be wearing for a while. It's so much easier to have your clothes tailored when you aren't as likely to wear them. The reason for that is that you won't miss them as a staple in your wardrobe, and when they come back from the tailor, they can go straight into storage and come out clean and ready to wear next year.

Let me know if you need help - cleaning out closets is very cathartic for me (and hopefully you, too)!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Charlotte International Fashion Week

What a difference a year makes! Anthony Simmons, the producer of this three day fashion extravaganza is in his fifth year of bringing new and emerging designers to Charlotte. Last year I was busy doing commentary behind the scenes interviewing designers, guests, models, other stylists and anyone wearing an ensemble that caused me to turn my head. This year I had the opportunity to be front and center to the runway! I was so close to the runway and the models strutting up and down that I not only saw some incredible fashions but models twitching and sweating, along with a few too many exposed body parts! I was drunk on fashion, salivating from much of what I saw, leaving me in a daze of euphoria.

Charlotte actually hosts two fashion weeks completely different from one another, one more local fashion and the other international. It was a welcome change to see what Anthony brought to the table with the international viewpoint. He is now bringing in designers from different parts of the world, rebranding what was Charlotte NC Fashion Week to include international designers and changing the vibe (and the name) of the show to Charlotte International Fashion Week.

The show features emerging international designers like Katarina Cvitkovic, who is this years winner of the Young Designer competition of the Europe Future Fashion Showcase. Katarina gained her experience from working for the fashion house of Marni and Gianesare Conca as Assistant Creative Director. I loved her creative simple designs that incorporate hand stitched puckered seams around the neck and arms of the garments. Her collection was primarily in soft watery sea tones of greens, neutrals and blues.

Another designer, who began her career in Southeast China, was Vanni Wang. At 18 years old she began teaching students in China how to sew and manufacture. Within a few short years Wang established one of the largest facilities of high fashion manufacturing. After 25 years she has moved to the United States with her family to continue her design work. She designs with the finest materials from Asia and Europe and uses them to combine elegance and couture to all her hand sewn gowns. Her work is truly breath taking, with attention to detail like I rarely see.

Among many of the returning designers was Alana B Couture, Tsvety McAuliffe and Bill Evans. All three designers continue to grow and expand their creative process and quality of workmanship. Once again, Bill Evans wowed me with his playful menswear designs worn by women. Last year he did smoking jackets and this year it was tweed suiting. Most of the jackets were oversized and the pants were high waisted with long zippers, detailed lining, buttons and rich fabrics.

I would have to say my favorite designer was Alice Andrews Designs, who offers art to wear. She began her career in textile arts as a draper for Hollywood films and commercials. It was later that she transitioned into hand printed fabric and felt. She has continued to perfect this into an eco couture concept. She offers sustainable wearable art by integrating wool fleece and natural fabrics into one of a kind garments. I could not get enough of the hand died silk dresses that look so sophisticated, and comfortable to boot!

I have to say choosing the Blake Hotel as the venue was perfect for the expanding crowds. One of the trends I see happening is an emcee or host that introduce designers from behind the stage and uses the deejay as the front man. Other notable changes was the audience opportunity to vote for the best model walk for both men and women. It reminded me of a cattle call, but obviously entertaining. Great reconnecting with old friends and fun meeting a few new folks in the process. Downtown Charlotte is a lot of fun. Next year I will plan on attending the other fashion venue to see what it is all about.

Look for my other blog this week about my trip to Scarlet Plus Boutique in Charlotte. Owner Todd Albaum is doing some really cool things!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where Do You Get your Fashion Cues?

Fashion cues are what you see and think are fashionable. Whether you want to wear them or not is mostly subjective and always a matter of personal taste. The person standing next to you in line may be wearing something fashionable, but is not something you'd ever wear. For instance, if you tend to wear clothes with a bohemian vibe, something architectural and classic is not something you'd likely wear, but will recognize it as being fashionable.

If you are not a client of Wardrobe Consulting, then you are taking your fashion cues from somewhere. Let me guess...Style Magazine, Vanity Fair, Seventeen, Elle, GQ, Good Housekeeping, Pintrest or the local department store? or possibly the tv show What Not To Wear?

As a stylist my job is stay as up to date on style trends, colors, seasonal fabrics, fads and what I feel will help my clients with their lifestyle dressing. I'm sure you've all noticed the economy is slow to bounce back, and in some areas the current weather isn't helping in the short term. There are a few things I have found over the past years that are most helpful in working with my clients.
  • Know what quality goods are available in the market, whether it is in a store or online.
  • Know when the sales are going to happen.
  • Prioritize client needs.
  • Always keep moving clients (as well as myself) moving forward with their style.
  • Budget, budget, budget and make a wish list to purchase later or to share with friends and family.
  • Remember to make every purchase count and don't be sucked into items that really aren't you!
  • Take time to evaluate what is in your closet and remember to consign or donate what is not working. Keep only what works!
A note about moving forward with your style, or being fashion forward. As we continue to age we have different wardrobe needs. What suited us in our 20's is no longer appropriate in our 30's or 40's. Although 40 is the new 30 and so on, we do change. I call it evolving to a better and more carefree place. As we mature, staying current to avoid the frumps is even more important, but finding that style may be more challenging given the body changes we all face as we age. My son refers to it as the mom body and when I questioned it, he said it is mom's with a belly. What am I supposed to say to that besides looking down at my own pooch and rubbing it like a buddha?!? My male clients have their own fashion and body issues they worry about, so I know no one is immune. Balding, the growing belly over the pants, pant legs they no longer fill out and so on. Who needs to point it all out? Although comfort becomes increasingly important as we age, feeling good about our appearance should never wane.

Back to your fashion cues...whether it is from me, your significant other, a fashion magazine or online take the time this fall to begin the process of dressing for your lifestyle by putting your best foot forward. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Setting the tone for Menswear Fall 2012

We already know that women's wear will mimic some of menswear with the typical plaids, suiting with vests, high waisted pants and pinstripe button downs. With our economic concerns and the looming election right around the corner, we are all rethinking our budgets for fall.

Your budget will take a hit if you don't know what you have in there and inadvertantly buy something you already have, so men, it is time to do the great closet clean out. Go through your closet and evaluate what you have. If your pant hems and shirt collars are frayed, it is time to donate them. If your suit jackets are double breasted and are lacking a double vent in the back, it may be time to shove them to the back of the closet. Maybe those suits will come back sometime in the next ten years. This is fine provided your shape doesn't grow. If your shoes are scuffed and the heel is worn down, this is a great opportunity to visit the shoe repair shop for a polish and new heel. At the very least a new heel. If you'd prefer to polish them yourself, it's an easy budget saver, and fairly quick to do. These are easy fixes that are much more economical than purchasing new ones. Make do and put your fall wardrobe dollars into a few key pieces for under $500.

* This season Gap is offering a collegiate American style cord blazer of quality cotton. It promises to be a key lifestyle builder to pair with wool or cotton pants, denim, plaid shirts and a military cap. Nothing like a classic style corduroy jacket to take your lifestyle wardrobe from day to night. At a budget conscious price of $88 - it's a steal as a wardrobe staple.

* Hugo Boss is offering a lace up sneaker-shoe that is functional as well as stylish. The calfskin leather is ideal for daywear paired with a casual dress pant, and right on trend to navigate a busy nightlife. The rubber sole provides the comfort for long days and is ideal for the man wanting more style than a typical sneaker. Found it at Piper Lime for a very affordable $125.

* Choose a low rise boot cut jean to add as a foundation piece. American Eagle is offering a jean this fall with a designer look minus the designer price. I especially appreciate that men are moving away from skinny jeans and are going back to a less trendy and more versatile look. The classic dark wash with deconstructed detailing makes this lifestyle wardrobe builder suitable for most casual office wear provided your office considers nice jeans business casual. Try throwing on the blazer to sharpen your style. If you like the fit, buy more than a pair at the easily budget friendly $49.50 pricing.

* The final item to complete your budget friendly fall wardrobe is a military theme suede cap from Banana Republic. This trendy accessory has become another option to the very stylish fedora but more easily worn. Great paired with jeans and a chunky cable sweater or a leather jacket, scarf and boot for an upbeat look. Look for the overall price of wearing when buying this cap for $69.

As always I recommend you start in your closet ans build from there - prioritizing what you may need. Keep your look clean and not overdone and use jackets and blazers, scarves and shoes as items that show your personality.
Send me your best fall look!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hold the Presses!

It looks like fashion is making a big splash here in Raleigh. Among the many events I've blogged about, I might be most excited about this one. Making eco-fashion staple Redress Raleigh more than a fashion show, organizers announced the creation of the Redress Eco-fashion & Textiles Conference. Taking place March 22-24, 2013 at the Raleigh Marriott City Center, it seems like a great opportunity to promote both shopping locally and as consciously as possible.

The purpose of the conference is to increase dialogue among boutique owners, designers, suppliers, and customers who have an interest in eco-fashion and textiles. Although conference panelists, scheduling, workshops and the marketplace vendors haven't been announced yet, this is an exciting step forward for fashion in the area.

Not only is Redress Raleigh working on a eco-fashion textiles conference, they're working on a fashion show for Halloween called Redress the Dead. Scheduled for October 27 in downtown Raleigh, it's exciting to see planned family friendly events featuring fashion. And for Halloween! Wonder what kind of fashion will stroll down the runway - costumes, or every day wear?

Speaking of...what are you wearing for Halloween? or are we all too grown up to dress up for a good ol' fashioned Halloween party?
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