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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ready or not, spring is officially here!

Last week I wrote about transitioning items in your closet from winter into early spring despite the cold weather. Well spring is officially here and it isn't getting a whole lot warmer. We know it's gonna get there but for many of us we are willing to transition our wardrobe because we are so tired of our winter clothes. 
Spring is looking great this year. There seems to be a lot of color-emerald greens, numerous melon to red orange tones, cobalt to navy blues to creamy whites and metallics . Pattern are color blocked, floral or abstract but regardless there is something for everyone and I mean everyone!
Just to get you started I have compiled a list of items that are worth considering to give your wardrobe a boost. Stores are stock full and weekend deals and promotions generally start running Thursdays. Do your own quick closet evaluation or give me a call for a more thorough closet consultation, but either way, it's time.
Spring Wardrobe Boosters
1. A military or fitted style jacket. Find a jacket that is versatile enough to wear with pants, casual dresses or jeans. I have seen several jackets that are made with two different fabrics, like a linen blend and cotton or cotton and silk. Personally, I chose an army green silk and polyester with a drawstring closure for a more fitted look.
2. A racer front dress maxi dress. Maxi dresses continue to be a fun option for spring and summer designer Rachel Pally has designed a new twist to the everyday look. Opt for a fitted cropped shrug for a dressier look for evening or jean jacket and flip flops for day!
3. A digital print blouse. How fun is it to add a digitally enhanced print blouse or top to wear back with your basic black skirt or pant? This isn't this season's wardrobe builder, but an item that will make more of a statement and add a pop to any wardrobe basic.
4. A floral or patterned print jean. I have seen bold prints and small and not so small floral jeans this season. From skinny to straight, cotton to stretch lycra, it's all out there for your choosing. A few recommendations:
  • If you are petite, keep your look overall more tonal. Choose a pattern that is small versus large and select a tee or top that is simple and preferably the dominant color in the pant.
  • If you are fuller figured and have more substantial thighs, look for overall patterns that are less busy or more muted. Make sure you balance your top to your bottom and you keep your top layers fitted and not full.
  • Pockets, embellishments and stitching beware! Wearing a pattern or floral jean is generally enough of a statement that few other details on the jeans is a good rule of thumb.
5. Leather or pleather pieces. Anything in a colored or texture lightweight leather in a top, jacket or skirt will be a hit this season. I have seen metallics, whites, melons, reds and blues. Again, this is a fashion piece, so a large investment is not required unless you see yourself wearing it for years to come. Personally I have seen a few fabulous bomber jackets in supple leathers that are somewhat pricey from $350 to $500, but certainly are pieces nice enough to grow old with. On the other hand, I have seen items that are simply made and often are leather and cotton combined that are inexpensive and really fun. Either way, go forth and make it something you would really feel great in.
6. A drawstring handbag. I have always loved a bucket drawstring bag. Work it this season with a colored bag other than black or brown in leather. Take specific care in selecting a bag that will add a pop of color to your wardrobe without adding a lot of distracting details. Choose color and texture over embellishment and hardware.
7. A great wedge. Don't go safe, go color! Choose a colored fabric or leather with a woven rope or textured heel with either a fabric tie around the ankle or buckled straps.
8. A colored pair of sunglasses. Take a sandwich on the road one day and spend your lunchtime at discount stores like SteinMart, Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx and find the most colorful shades you can endure to wear this season. 
After viewing this list most of you are probably scratching your heads. For those who regularly read my blogs, I preach wardrobe foundation pieces to complement fashion pieces and lifestyle dressing. This season, I'm thinking wardrobe boosters. Add one or two out of your box items and I promise it will give your carefully calculated wardrobe a new feel.
Happy shopping!
From my closet to yours-

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Should You Pull Out Your Spring Wardrobe Now?

It's the weekend and I am still debating to bring out spring and summer clothing because of the crazy inconsistencies with the weather. For those of you living in cold weather states with a few months to go before you start experiencing balmy weather one day and freezing temps the next day, bookmark this blog and come back in a month or so. Spring will get there - I promise.

Back to me and my closet issues. Getting the weather update from my husband for the week brought me to a few quick conclusions. Although I am steadily working with clients on their spring clothing and in stores daily purchasing, I am not personally ready to give up my tights and boots, but I will agree to put away my heavy wools, warm weather sweaters and coats.
Here are some tips on transitioning for the next few weeks until Mother Nature decides to commit to warm weather:
  • Plan your daily outfits for cold mornings and warming around noon or 1 pm by incorporating layers. This is the time of year also when not only is Mother Nature trying to decide how warm or cold it is, but your office or building administrator is also trying to decide if the heat or the a/c should be on.
  • Start with a camisole, blouse and a jacket or sweater. By lunchtime, if the sun is shinning and the sweat begins to bead down your chest, begin by taking off the sweater and keep on the camisole and open the blouse and wear it like a jacket. I have even gone as far as to rid myself of the blouse and just wear the jacket or sweater with the camisole. Call me crazy, but I'm alway thinking that if my outfit is going to take on another look, I need to have a back up plan. So I generally plan to add a silk scarf or necklace if I am left with a camisole and an open neckline. Scarves are easily carried by tying them around a purse strap.
  • Since I am all about making it really easy, I like to wear dresses. Many of my dresses are short sleeve or sleeveless. I may start with a coat, but again, carry a cardigan or a shrug and usually switch it out by late morning. Another crazy thing I have been known to do is wear tights and boots and once I have my first hot flash or urge to rip off the tights underneath my boots, I do. I may carry an extra pair of socks, so I don't have to go sockless with my boots. That would just feel icky, right?
  • Go ahead and begin taking out of your closet any heavy pants, wool tweed jackets, corduroy, velvet items, heavy long sweaters, turtlenecks, long leather skirts and furs from your closet. Pull out any long sleeve blouse or tops that scream winter and you won't wear into the spring.
  • Add heavy scarves and shoes to the list, as well. Suede shoes are still worn in the spring, especially the lighter colors like grey, camel or blue. Anyone besides me out there own denim blue suede peep toe shoes?
Keep these in your closet for now:

short height or ankle boots
cowboy boots - I so enjoy wearing them into the spring and summer
non-wool scarves, like the nice silk and linen ones we know you own
fedora hats
basic white blouse
jean jackets
short sleeve sweaters
short and long sleeve dresses
anything in lighter color palettes
poly, spandex, nylon, cotton model, silk layering items
basic black or neutral pumps
jeans, of course
skirts and jackets that are either lightweight tropical wools or unlined items.
winter white - keep and wear
So hang in there, and don't let this global warming get the best of us. Spring is right around the corner and stores are full and awaiting your arrival! This is a great time to evaluate your wardrobe needs for spring and begin budgeting for new spring items. In the meantime, be sure to read my latest article in Wake Living on Tone on Tone Dressing for Spring.
From my closet to yours,

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coming Full Circle

This past week I took some time off from my clients to work with the organization Dress for Success.  Dress for Success Triangle NC was founded in 2008 and their mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women succeed in work and life. Those who regularly follow my blog know I am passionate about helping others, whether with the Sisko Foundation, a grass roots organization supporting women with breast cancer, or in the variety of donations and committees I serve on to provide my services for those in need.

I believe if my memory serves me, which we know it often doesn't, it was after meeting Pat Nathan, the founder of Dress for Success, I decided I absolutely had to help her with the mission of the organization. Have you ever met someone and knew what they were doing was so very important on so many different levels that you wanted to be involved? Pat's passion and compassion led me to knowing that I could offer my skills to this organization with my knowledge of fashion, lifestyle dressing and teaching poise and confidence to all that I work with. Success Suits Her is an annual luncheon put together by Dress for Success and is a fundraising event for the organization. Since the organization is devoted to helping low income women make tailored transitions into the workforce, the unique lunch will offer Triangle professionals an opportunity to hear women who have been through the program tell their inspiring story and model clothing selected specifically for their job goals and aspirations.

This is the second year I am involved in working with the models, who are former clients of the program. It's so much fun to work with these women by choosing age and size appropriate clothing, teaching them how to walk the runway and the dialogue preparation for telling their incredibly passionate story. Once again, I am humbled by their inner strength and drive to move forward and better themselves. This year I had the opportunity to work not only at the Durham office, but also at the more recently opened location in Raleigh.
Each of the women had a story to tell. As I engaged the ladies, I found they began to open up with their own challenging stories, often involving loss or heart break. One of the most uplifting encounters was with a woman by the name of Tia. Tia had an upper level marketing job when she lived in Washington, DC. Her husband was transferred to the area and the family had to move and away her job went.  After a few years of looking she has been unable to secure a position that utilizes her talents and job experience. While living in DC, she was part of a similar organization that assisted women in their job search and provided clothing and counseling. Tia relished the opportunity to help others as she was secure in her job and community and never believed she would be on the end needing that same support. As you can imagine, the transition from being in a position to help to requiring help has taken some getting used to.

Tia was so happy to find Dress for Success and discover they could help her. Though the past few years have been stressful, Tia has reached out to help others and volunteered with The Girl Scouts of American and led large events at her church. Using her skills and diversifying her job search has enabled her to have interesting potential prospects. In counseling her for what she could expect during the luncheon, I reminded her that being asked to tell her story was a wonderful opportunity to share with others her many life experiences and what she could offer potential employers. For many women who come through the program their experience is not only successfully finding employment, but the ability to give back to the program with their skill set and need to nurture others. Tia has already begun to fill those shoes, and I am confident with her smile and inner strength she will find her way. As for the others I have dressed and guided in preparation for the luncheon, I look forward to hearing how the audience was wowed by their lifestyle dress, their swagger down the runway and heart warming story of moving forward with the help of a group of women who embrace them and want to see them succeed.
To get tickets to this event, click here. In the meantime, for those out there struggling with their image as they continue to move forward in either their job or lifestyle, know that I am here to help!
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