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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Final View of 2012

As I sit with my laptop, evaluating my year and what is to come in the next, I grin and grimace (if that is possible) at the same time. From the family perspective it has been pretty good, mostly highlights with of course a few moments that rocked my world in a negative way. As for business, has it been productive, engaging and do I still feel as passionate about it as I did twenty plus years ago? Am I taking care of myself like I should be physically, mentally and spiritually? Do I still like the person that I am? Have I given back to the community and my fellow man in a way that I feel makes me worthy of starting each day? From a fashion perspective (cause you know I gotta bring that up), have I continued to reinvent my style and dress in a way that fits my lifestyle and age? 

As 2012 comes to an end, I reflect on a few very common themes I have heard from clients over this past year:

  • My hair has changed and I don't want to spend a lot of money on it or time fixing it. 
  • I am not happy with the extra 5-20 pounds I am carrying, but it is what it is! 
  • I am so tired of wearing the same 5 things and need "desperate" help. Desperate was a recurring theme this year, which is harsh, but I keep hearing that word used by clients.
  • My husband needs your services but doesn't have time, or will make the time.
  • I cannot find a good fitting pair of jeans that aren't less than $100 and I won't spend that! Incidentally, I agree.
  • I want to learn to accessorize, but how?
  • I need a "look book" of coordinated outfits from my closet to help me.
  • What do mean you no more "matchy matchy" and what is blending of tones?
  • I can't believe what a difference having my clothes tailored has made. I love the fit and how it has been redone!
  • When is your book coming out? All I know is that I promise it will definitely be in early 2013!

As we all view 2012 from behind in the mirror, take a final look, smile and whip your head forward with a plan to tackle just one of the fashion lifestyle concerns you have in 2013!

From my closet to yours, and a happy and healthy New Year to all - Suzanne 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Eco Fashion, TRIfabb and More!

Two blogs in one day! Must be some kind of record or something. Maybe it's just the desire to spread some holiday cheer?

Redress Raleigh, our local eco fashion show, has expanded! They are now taking vendors for the show and the weekend long meeting. Be sure to check in with them if you're interested in helping out!

I've also discovered a group of like-minded people...at TRIfabb. They are all local bloggers, and some blog about fashion, some life, and some beauty. If you have some time to spare...head on over and check out some other local bloggers.

Lastly, be safe for the holidays, and if you've taken time off, relax and enjoy yourself! X7YQHE5S82ME

Emerald Green - Just in Time for the Holidays!

We have a new Pantone color - Emerald Green. Must be all the fast fashion, with the shortened seasons, that cause us to get a new Pantone color every other month or so. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it makes it difficult to purchase smart. Of course, fast fashion isn't about purchasing smart, it's about purchasing now. And I don't think it's a bad thing to have some color in your wardrobe at any time, so there's that.

Speaking of color in a wardrobe, if you went to your closet right now, would you see a variety of black, white and brown? A friend of mine went to a holiday party recently, and while I view holiday parties as an opportunity to wear some color and break out the red, she mentioned that the first five women were all wearing black, white or grey. Only a couple of people wore something with color in it. So what gives? Are we suddenly afraid of color, or is it not sudden and I've just now noticed it?

So really, what's in your closet? If you don't wear color, why not? Don't know how to wear it? Not sure what colors look good on you anymore? If you think you're lacking color in your closet, go to a clothing swap, or better yet, have someone (me), come in and clean out your closet. Bring your best friend and a bottle of wine, and you'll get some honest feedback in the form of unbiased feedback from me, and what your friend thinks you'd look good in. You may not want to know what your friend thinks, but it's nice to have another perspective, and who knows, you might find yourself with enough colors in your wardrobe to cover whatever the next Pantone color is.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stretch Marks to Stilettos

Catchy title, right, and I bet you're wondering what this blog is all about. I met Page Crawford Fehling from my days of doing the fashion segments on My Carolina Today. Then, she was one of the original three hosts of the show. Page is now doing traffic and anchoring on the NBC morning show. When I met her, Page was pregnant with her second child and I remember thinking how maternity clothes had changed since my pregnancy some 20 plus years ago. Somehow I can't see Page in the mu-mu's I used to wear.

So Page is back for an encore with baby number three. Exciting for her and Jake, and a blast for me, because I'm going to dress her monthly. I thought about how fun it would be to watch her baby bump grow and talk about transitioning an everyday wardrobe to what will eventually need to be a maternity wardrobe. Each month for the next nine months, I will feature Page in two outfits, along with style tips for maternity dressing and helpful hints as her baby bump grows. If I know Page, she will be rocking the stilettos for a while!

Page is 17 weeks along and here are my initial suggestions:

* This is a wonderful opportunity to ask your friends to borrow maternity clothes. In  speaking to Page she said she had numerous friends who were pregnant currently or recently. As long as they are further along than you, they may have clothes they can no longer wear and won't mind lending or giving you.

* I would encourage Page and her friends to get together and do a maternity clothing swap. I would expect most everyone would be willing to swap a garment or two for anything that was new to them! The best way to recycle!

* If your jeans are too snug to snap or button, take a rubber band through the buttonhole and then wrap it around the button. Presto, you just gave yourself a bit longer before having to buy maternity jeans.

* The store bought alternative is the belly band that fits around the waistband of your jeans and hides the zipper closure. Personally, I'd opt for the rubber band and find a pair of jeans down the pike!

* Lastly, I would suggest going through your closet and breaking your closet into three sections. Maternity wear is the obvious first section, and then in the second are items that can be used for maternity such as camisoles, tank tops, long sweaters, button down tops, leggings and maxi dresses and skirts. The third section are items that are a no-go for the pregnancy. Wave them good bye and plan on getting re-acquainted next year at this time!

* Don't forget to go through your husband's end of the closet. His button downs can be used for layering and worn open with a tank underneath. His button up cardigans or v-neck sweaters are also great to use as needed. Add a scarf to draw attention up around your face and not directly to your stomach. Yank up your sleeves and add a chunky bangle, tights and boot and I expect you will feel just as sassy as ever. Page and other pregnant women....this is when I would opt for a riding boot, ballerina flat or driving moccasin and not the stilettos!

Check out Page in her two the two outfits that we coordinated for work. I love adding accessories. Page has purchased two knit skirts to wear. One totally neutral and another to transition into spring. Layering non-maternity tops as we have is helpful and extending her wardrobe.
Until next month's installment of Stretch Marks to Stilletos...from my closet to yours - Suzanne

Friday, December 14, 2012

More on Charleston Fashion Week

Fashionista's take note! Three designers that were selected bore further scrutiny, just to see what they were all about. Not that all the designers aren't worth a look, but I thought I'd start with the ones that interested me most. These designers are really talented, so if you want them in your local boutique, you should ask the designer or the boutique (or both)!

At the young age of twenty Jazsalyn McNeil was able to incorporate her interest in nature as it relates to a spiritual freedom. Look for vibrant colored fabrics, free flowing designs and the interesting hemlines that are sure to slither down the runway. Very talented, and designed for women who don't necessarily want to feel constricted in what they wear.

Clarissa Arocena and Bryan Datinguinoo are both part of the Anni Albers Scholars Program at NC State.  As a duo, their artistic talents lean toward traditional tailoring with classic lines. They like the true craftmenship of olden day artisans such as shoe cobblers, leather smiths and metal smiths to direct their designs. Personally I love the mixture of leathers and tradtional beading that add to their clean lines and soft flowing dresses. I will look forward to watching them grow as designers as well as at the CFW!

Lastly, worth mentioning is what I call a mature designer of 34, Hope Wallace. She will be showing swim and resort 2014 at CFW. She works with geometric shapes and graphic designs. I love the clear vision that the graphics offer with generally a big push on black and white and strong colors. It is very mod and reminds me of my younger days of pop art in the early 70's. Her designs are something I would really enjoy coordinating back with a few of my more traditional wardrobe pieces. 

All the designers will obviously bring their most inspiring looks, as once again checking it out is half the fun! If you want to go check it out for yourself, grab a friend and plan a weekend - tickets to CFW are on sale now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Do Your Clothes Fit You, or Do You Fit Your Clothes?

I read something recently that really spoke to me - we need to stop thinking there is something wrong with our bodies, and realize that there is something wrong with our clothes. In my many years of styling, I have found the biggest single obstacle for everyone is the way people view their bodies.

It doesn't seem to matter if you are a size 0, 4, 14 or 22. Men seem better able to deal with the number associated with their waist size, but I do have some male clients who are alarmed at the increase in their waist size, and most of that has to do with their dislike of shopping, in general. It could be they really want to be in shape but don't have the time, but mostly it's about shopping. And it's traumatic, I agree. You go out, find something you really like to wear - that go-to piece you wear at least once a week, and then it doesn't fit anymore. Stressful. So, what next?

The response I get from a lot of people is that they really just need to find something temporary until they lose whatever their magic number is, or they fit into a specific size. Since they believe they will soon be back in the clothes they love, and that are familiar, the clothes they buy in their current size don't get the same amount of attention because it's just a temporary solution. So now we're back to the original question - do your clothes fit you? or do you fit your clothes?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Blues....And Then...

...Charleston Fashion Week popped into my inbox! As many of you know, I spend a lot of time at the mall shopping for or with clients. I try to avoid the mall when it's super crowded, like Black Friday, and in general the entire month of December. So seeing spring fashion show previews got me going again. Want to know what I found out?

The email was to announce the 2013 Top 2013 Top Design 20 Emerging Designer Competition: East semifinalists. They are Afriyie Poku, Callie Nichol, Cassidy Brown, Clarissa Arocena and Bryan Datinguinoo, Hope Wallace, Hyemin Cho, Jazsalyn McNeil, Karen Hulse, Katherine Barron, Kendra Duplantier, Kita Nolley, Lulu Long, Mary Katherine Schweitzer, Megan Huntz, Monisha Pillai, Roz Morris, Sabrina Spanta, Serena da Conceição, and Victoria Cid.

Of the twenty emerging designers, three are from North Carolina and two are from the Triangle area. Clarissa Arocena and Bryan Datinguinoo are from Durham, Victoria Cid from Charlotte and Jazsalyn McNeil is from Raleigh. We hope they all do well at the show!

CFW this spring is March 19-23, and if you've a mind to volunteer some time, you'll get to see some great fashion and hang out in Charleston. What could be better?
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