Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Year, New You (Part I)

Did you feel like you were in a style slump in 2010? Did you see other women and think, “She looks really cute, I wish I could put an outfit together like that”? A new year is the perfect time to clean out your closet and give away all of the clothes that don’t fit you or that you simply don’t wear anymore. Add some new, updated pieces to your wardrobe that will spark some creativity in your mind and help you get excited about getting dressed in the morning. Here are a few tips to help you jump-start your tired and “soooo 2010” wardrobe.

1. If you have not worn the item of clothing in the last 6 months or (at most!) a year, (whether this be for a size reason or because you just don’t wear it), and it is still in good, wearable, and non-offensive condition, place it immediately in a garbage labeled for Goodwill or another donation company. (If it is in bad condition, toss it in the garbage pile).
I know this is so tough for some people. You justify these pieces of clothing in your head: “Well maybe if I lose 10 pounds it will fit again” or “Maybe I’ll find the perfect skirt to go with this shirt (that goes with nothing and is actually hideous but I don’t want to give it up because I spent (insert $ amount here) on it)”.
Regarding the weight excuse: I am all for having a few pieces of goal clothing to keep you motivated and to use as a benchmark for tracking your progress, but to hold on to things for years is a waste of space in your closet and, generally, a depressing reminder of what once was. Be proud of your body and dress for what fits you now. Just because you can squueeeeeeze your thigh into a certain pair of jeans does not mean that pair of jeans is flattering; in fact, you would look much smaller if you bought a size larger (no one knows what size is on the label in those pants). Unless you are on track to actually fit in those jeans, toss them in the giveaway pile and trade up a few sizes. Your veins will stop begging for blood flow and all on-lookers will thank you.

2. Is there a color that, when you wear it, people say, “That color looks really nice on you”? If so, seek out a few pieces in variations of that shade to add into your wardrobe.

For me, this color is pink. I try not to go overboard on the pink, but I know it complements my pale complexion and adds a little life into my face. Every once in a while, I pick up something new in a pink shade. I know I look nice when I wear it, and that helps me feel more confident.
If you aren’t sure what colors look best on you, grab a decisive friend and head to a store that carries the same shirt/sweater/etc in many colors (Gap is a good example). Hold to your face the same article of clothing in a variety of color options to see what works best with your skin tone, eye color, and hair color. Voila, you’ve got yourself a “you look nice in that” color!

3. Buy a few staple pieces with those gift cards you received over the Holidays
Family didn’t know what to get you so they opted for easy street and got you a Macy’s gift card instead? Use this “free money” towards the purchase of some more expensive staple pieces for your wardrobe. Here’s a list that I think is a good jumping off point:
  • Black dress pants, preferably in a strong, long lasting material
  • Black dress shoes
  • A dark pair of jeans
  • Beige trench coat
  • White blouse
  • Brown boots
Be on the lookout for New Year, New You (Part II) and I’ll give a variety of options for each of those staple pieces.

4. If all else fails, skip the clothes and head straight for the accessories department.

I see so many people wearing outfits that are walking the thin line between “could be cute” and “boooooooo-ring”. 9 times out of 10, the outfit ends up looking “meh” (yes, that’s a real word in my book…) because they fail to accessorize. I am an occasional victim to the “I wore an OK outfit but added no glitz, glam, or anything even remotely visually interesting to this outfit so now I just look plain boring” dressing scenario. When I look in the mirror and see that this situation is about to occur, I run to the nearest jewelry/hair accessory/scarf storage area (happens to be my bathroom closet) and go through my options. So, what happens if you don’t have any options? Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day my friends, and neither was my accessory closet. Build up a collection of things over time (pieces will cycle in and out), but eventually you’ll have enough things so that you can spend less than 5 minutes and find something to add to your outfit that places it firmly on the “cute outfit” side of the line. Here are some tips for purchasing accessories:
  • Forever 21, H&M, and J.Crew are your accessory friends. Forever 21 carries cheap, trendy jewelry. It might not last more than 10 wears, but it also doesn’t cost a lot, so you can buy a few things each month and soon your stockpile is growing. J. Crew usually has pretty good sale prices on their accessories, so keep an eye out for a good steal on pieces that will last much longer.
  • Don’t forget about headbands, scarves, shoes, and hats as accessories. Jewelry isn’t the only way to make an outfit interesting, and if you already have staple jewelry pieces (wedding ring, special earrings, etc) and don’t like straying from those classic pieces, then pick yourself up some pretty scarves or leopard print shoes to add interest to your outfit instead.
  • Try to have a good mix of colors in your accessories. Don’t stick to too much gold jewelry or too much silver. If you have an accessory that you love in one color, see if it comes in another!
Hope these tips helped make you feel more confident about how to take a step forward with your fashion in 2011. Part II of New Year, New You to come!

 Images via Park Avenue Stacie, Preschool Daze and J. Crew

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rough It Up

British model Poppy Delevigne has incredible clothes. I read a post by Erin from Elements of Style a few months ago highlighting Poppy's ability to look chic in so many different styles and  I fell in love with every single outfit I saw.  Recently, as I was working on updating my clothing database, I found a to-die-for leather jacket from Gap and it reminded me of Poppy's ability to work a leather jacket/floral dress combo - instant inspiration for today's post.
Poppy Inspiration2
 The leather jacket is a splurge item for sure, but it is also an investment piece that can work in a variety of dressed-up and dressed-down outfits, and through years and years of wear (in fact most look better when they're a little broken in). I love the contrast of the tough leather jacket with the sweet, girly floral print in the dress. In theory, it seems so wrong, but in practice the look is so right. Take a lesson from Poppy, the "roughed up" floral look is something you should consider for an upcoming night out!
Poppy Inspiration2

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Work Outfit

Hello to my lovely readers, Happy Veteran's Day!  I have the day off today and am enjoying drinking coffee on the couch and catching up on all of the amazing design blogs that I don't have time to read during a normal week.  For you today, I have a bargain of a work outfit comprised mostly of budget-friendly options from Forever21.  The foundation of the outfit is a simple black tank, black pencil skirt, and black round toe heels.  These are basic wardrobe pieces that will be worn over and over in a work wardrobe - pieces that every single gal should have.  Granted, the Forever21 pencil skirt and Payless shoes are not going to be as well-constructed as, say, J.Crew options, but many of us do not have budgets that include $150 dollar J.Crew pencil skirts..... so instead we buy entire outfits for $125

For those of us with champagne taste on a Natty Light budget, we forge ahead with Forever 21 options. The part of this outfit that really makes it special and put-together is the olive green ruffled sweater jacket. I know ruffles scare some people, but these are big, billowly ruffles. They aren't fussy at all, but they are still feminine - and the coat just looks so comfortable, doesn't it? The last part of this outfit that makes it a little more special than what some of your co-workers might be wearing is the tights. In the winter, bare legs are definitely a no-go.... pick up some interesting tights (but not sexy - e.g. fishnets) for the office to make your regular pencil skirt outfits a bit more exciting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Neutral Glam

Neutrals can tend to be a little drab if you pick too many similar colors in one outfit, but a good way to give a mostly neutral outfit a little pick-me-up is by adding some interesting accessories.  This creation started when I found the unique green silk top from Forever21 featured below. 
Neutral Glam

Forever 21 continues to produce beautiful silk tops (regardless of some of the awful, cheap looking pieces they make) and every time I visit their website I am immediately drawn to those tops. This green shirt, in particular, is a gorgeous color for Fall - look at how well it pairs with the rust colored Urban Outfitters blazer (and don't you love the elbow patches on the blazer!?). The two colors are perfect together, and they're even better when you throw in a hint of gold and amber through the accessories. The earrings and bracelet are both incredibly affordable pieces from Forever21. The gold necklace is bit more of a splurge from J.Crew, but so worth it for the variety of ways you could wear it - this necklace could easily dress up a simple black dress for an upcoming holiday party.  Finally, the clutch rounds out the entire outfit by pulling together all of the colors featured in the rest of the outfit in a stunning, visually stimulating peacock pattern.

Silk Button Down Top
$34 - canada.forever21.com

League Skinny Jean
$28 - forever21.com

Faceted Elastic Bracelet Set
$6.80 - forever21.com

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Zabrina
$98 - piperlime.gap.com

Wire Detail Earrings
$4.80 - forever21.com

Crystal helix necklac
$88 - jcrew.com

BDG Schoolboy Blazer
$78 - urbanoutfitters.com

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tweed and Polka Dots and Doves, Oh My!

One of my favorite blogs, Elements of Style, recently had a contest that awarded each winner a piece of a stunning Emerson Made outfit. If you've never heard of Emerson Made, you have some serious catching up to do. This husband and wife team has created a stunning, classic collection of pieces for 2010 that blew me away.  I was drooling over every single element of their fall collection, but the pieces featured in this post's outfit are my absolutely favorite - the tweed jacket was inspired by a vintage 1960's tweed jacket that
Emerson owns - which shows how long tweed has been and will be in style. 
The tie-neck blouse has a tiny polka-dot detail (that is a bit hard to see in the photographs), that makes it so much more interesting than a plain white blouse!  Because the upper half of this outfit is classic and neutral, it is so fun to pair this gorgeous yellow wool pencil skirt from J.Crew on the bottom.  The skirt is eye-catching, but not overwhelming, and is perfectly complemented by understated accessories that allow the skirt to be the center of attention while still adding to the outfit.  The dove earrings from ShopBop are dainty and adorable and the delicate gold bracelet will work time and time again in many different outfits.  The Ralph Lauren heels catch my eye every single time that I go shoe shopping - they are such a classic design (I don't think the picture does the shape justice) and beautiful rich brown color. 

I know dressing for work can often times become more of a chore than a pleasure, and I also know it's easy to get into a style slump, so remember to add a fun piece like this yellow wool skirt to your collection every so often to spark your creativity and jump start your excitement about your wardrobe!

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Zabrina
$98 - piperlime.gap.com

Essie Nail Colour Polish
$1.60 - amazon.com

Love Dove Studs
$32 - shopbop.com

The Ribbons Blouse - Cream Tiny Dot
$128 - emersonmade.com

1960's Jacket - The Tweed
$ 238 - emersonmade.com

$95 - warbyparker.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Affordable Fall

I love Fall -- in my humble opinion, all good things come with this season.  I have a minor conniption when I see the heaven-sent sign telling me that "The Pumpkin Spice Latte is Back!" (while my bank account weeps a little) and I love the cool breeze at night that causes you to shiver and cuddle up a bit closer under the covers; but most importantly, I love Fall because it is definitely the most fun season to dress for.  With the departure of Summer's sweltering heat, I can layer elements of my outfits.  Layering makes outfits much more interesting - for instance, the other day I wore a navy blue and white striped round neck top, a v-neck sweater in a neutral over top of the tee, and topped it all off with a brown blazer.  In the summer, I would have settled for the blue and white striped top and called it a (boring) day, but in the Fall, the possibilities are endless. 

The other main reason that I love fall is because I get incredibly pale - I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I am almost see-through during the months of October through May - so the rich colors that are often associated with Fall are much more complementary to my skin tone.  Even for women with darker complexions, I find that most women look better in rich tones than in screamingly bright or muted pale tones.  
Rich Fall

Today I wanted to focus on these rich tones and also keep the look easy on the wallet - the entire outfit can be purchased for a total of $143 - which is incredible, considering that I know many women who would spend that just on the jeans alone!  Don't be afraid to mix a couple of warm tones together!  I used quite a few different colors in the outfit but look how well they combine with one another - step out of your comfort zone a little - you'll be glad you did - it will open your mind to the creativity and fun you can have with your outfits this season.
$9.50 - forever21.com

UO Leather Wrap Bracelet
$14 - urbanoutfitters.com

Slub Knit Corsage Tank in Cream
$15 - forever21.com

Fab Basic Jeans
$15 - forever21.com

Enamel Raindrop Post Earring
$14 - urbanoutfitters.com