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