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what i wore: saint louis fashion week emerging designer competition

what i wore: saint louis fashion week emerging designer competition

The past month has been crazy but awesome, covering Saint Louis Fashion week for ALIVE Magazine on top of my usual client schedule and taking care of our now-five-month-old. For most events, I didn't even have a chance to take photos before handing off the baby and running out of the door, but I'm glad I did for this outfit.

This dress cost a whopping 34 cents. Well, I'm guesstimating, since I got it at the St. Louis Goodwill Outlet, where everything is 79 cents per pound. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out my guide to St. Louis thrift stores. I love the graphic nature of this traditional African mudcloth fabric. As I seem to do frequently, I cut off most of the length and hemmed it. I added a metallic gold belt from H&M, old Franco Sarto booties from Marshall's, a thrifted clutch, and black tights.  There's always a little extra pressure when going to an event where you know people will be making an extra effort to look chic, and I was really happy with my outfit. You know what that means - I'll be wearing it again soon!

 

on repeat

on repeat

I posted about an outfit on repeat at exactly this same time last year, and I have another one.

And look, I actually took a photo out in public - proof that I do leave the house every once in a while ;) I'm so 2008 though, it's still really embarrassing for me (taking photos in public, not leaving the house)!

Wearing James Jeans, H&M sweater, Sutton Lasater necklace via Byrd Designer Consignment, Arassi Jewelry small triangle necklace (anniversary gift, in addition to a DVF dress!), and Bakers boots via Avalon Exchange.

Is everyone feeling super busy since fall hit or is it just me?

P.S. I finally updated the mindful closet Testimonials page - check it out!

white+denim, part deux

white+denim, part deux

Since we've established that white+denim is my fave summer uniform, here are a couple of examples from this summer.

mindful closet st louis personal stylist - summer uniform white+denim

If this outfit looks familiar, it's because I wore the exact same thing while pregnant.

mindful closet st louis personal stylist - summer uniform white+denim

For a slightly dressier night out, I wore an H&M top, Gap jeans, vintage necklace and thrifted wedges.

How are you wearing your summer uniform?

three for one

three for one

I'm pretty backed up on my outfit posts, so I figured I'd throw three outfits into this one!

Up first - I thrifted this dress a year ago (worn with thrifted flats - hey, 100% thrifted!). When I first wore it, I felt as though people would think I was pregnant, even though I wasn't at the time. Therefore, I was sure it would be great when I really was pregnant.

The photo below was my Pinterest inspiration. Unfortunately, it didn't look so great on me with Converse, hence the flats, and I still feel like the dress doesn't work so well. I'm leaning towards more fitted clothes this late in the game, otherwise I feel like I'm taking up a lot of space!

This next outfit is my usual casual uniform: striped tee, jeans, Converse.

mindful closet st louis personal stylist

And lastly, another uniform - this one has been dependable all winter and it resurfaced when we had another cold spell.

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This H&M non-maternity top has been such a super-star, I've worn it constantly (also wearing super-star Old Navy maternity leggings and Steve Madden Intyce boots). We wanted to take a quick babymoon, and this was the only time my husband had off, but at 36.5 weeks, I didn't feel comfortable traveling too far. We went to Overlook Farm in Clarksville, MO, where this photo was taken. It was an...interesting...experience. Email me if you're thinking of going! :)

it's happening...

it's happening...

...I'm getting to the point where none of my clothes fit anymore. It usually takes me a week or so to get around to posting my outfits, and something crazy has happened since I took these photos. Or maybe it's just the black dress.

These photos were taken when I was about 34 and a half weeks pregnant. I don't feel  much different, but when I look at photos taken in the week since, I look so much bigger. It actually surprised me to see it. On top of that, overnight I've become extremely uncomfortable in clothes. Basically, I don't want anything touching my skin. My maternity jeans don't fit anymore, ditto for pants, and I'm down to 2 or 3 dresses that fit and I don't feel horrible in. It's funny, I was sailing right along, thinking, "oh, this whole pregnancy thing is easy!" and then this hit. Isn't that what always happens when you think you've got everything figured out? I have a feeling I'll be putting my minimalist wardrobe philosophy to the test in these next 4-6 weeks, trying to work with the same few articles of clothing that still fit.

Back to the outfit - I wore this to speak to a Moms of Toddlers group about easy ways to be stylish while chasing after little ones. It was a fun group to work with, and I'll turn my presentation into a blog post at some point. The dress is from Old Navy (also worn here and various other times), the cropped trench is from H&M several years ago, the scarf is from Target, and the boots are old Nine West.

You'll have to stay tuned for the extra large belly photos. In the meantime, any advice for me?

Have you followed me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest? ;)

closet case study: colleen

closet case study: colleen

It's been a while since we had a case study, and Colleen was the perfect candidate for one. She contacted me because she was getting frustrated getting dressed every morning. Before we met for a consultation, I sent Colleen a questionnaire I send to all my clients (you can see it here). During our meeting, we discussed her answers on the questionnaire and clarified her needs. We diagnosed her style by looking at images from the Lucky Guide - definitely American Classic. Then we moved on to her closet. Colleen's wardrobe issues did not result from too many clothes, in fact, she's a great purger and her closet was very small and tidy.

colleen closet.jpg

Isn't it awesome?! We started to go through piece by piece to figure out why she was having so much trouble getting dressed. A lot of her shirts were boxy and ill-fitting and many of them looked well-worn. Both of these problems stemmed from the fact that they were not great quality in addition to overzealous washing, resulting in pieces that were only a few months old but were already faded and pilling. Feel free to disagree, but I believe that unless you've worked out in it or exerted yourself, most things don't need to be washed after one wear. It varies for each person and each type of garment.

Even with those problem children, Colleen still had plenty of great basics and cute pieces, but she felt like she didn't have any options because she was very unsure of how to put them together. Her workplace is pretty casual and she didn't want to appear too dressed up. She also had a fear of wearing the same thing too often. Of course, I quickly reminded her that's not usually a real issue (outside of your own thoughts) since most people are too self-absorbed to pay much attention to anyone else.

Because Colleen's wardrobe was so small, I was able to photograph the majority of it. To help her see the options she actually already had, I made a series of photo collages showing outfits she could make from her closet. I added in a few things that we already knew she was going to add to her wardrobe - a white tee, brown boots and the two necklaces.  This gave us a total of 12 tops, 8 bottoms, 1 dress, 2 necklaces, 1 scarf, and 4 pairs of shoes. She had a bit more than that, but that's what I ended up using in these images. I very quickly came up with more than 30 outfits (a month's worth!) and could have kept going indefinitely had I had more time. Here are 27 looks (27 only because it make 3 neat squares of 9 looks each!) Again, keep in mind this is only with what she already owned.

If some outfits look similar, it's because they are. Sometimes all you need to do is change the accessories from brown to black, or change a necklace for a scarf for a whole new look. If some of the outfits look simple, it's because they are. You don't always need a million complicated pieces.

After we went through everything in Colleen's closet, I came up with a list of pieces she could add to maximize her options and refresh her wardrobe. We decided her neutral would be brown to make sure that everything went together and so that she didn't need different accessories or shoes for each outfit. Here's her shopping list by priority:

First priority:
-lightweight jacket for layering in a neutral color
-white boatneck or long sleeve tee for layering
-dressier, classic brown knee high boots

Second priority:
-one more pair of work pants, in camel/tan
-1-2 fun printed blouse, other than button down, in a silkier fabric, flowier shape
-1-2 fun statement necklaces
-1-2 accent scarves
-long cardigan in a neutral

Third priority:
-(replace) brown flats
-bright or leopard flats
-(replace) dark skinny jeans

At this point, some clients like to just take the list and run with it, sometimes checking in to ask my opinion on various options. Others prefer to have me do the shopping for them. Colleen had always been overwhelmed by shopping and wanted to get a little better at it, so we planned an afternoon of shopping together.

We started at Nordstrom Rack, which can definitely be overwhelming with its racks of seemingly unorganized clothing. I asked Colleen to focus on finding one thing at a time. For instance, instead of attempting to find all the items on her list at once, we started by just searching out lightweight jackets. Next, we focused on printed blouses - easy to pick out of the crowded racks. I encouraged her to grab anything that remotely looked like a possibility.

When shopping, it was easy to show Colleen the difference between the quality of a few different pieces in the same store. She was drawn to a Vince henley style silk top, but it was about $120. For a more affordable option, we pulled a similar style from a cheaper brand, about $30. When Colleen tried it on, she could tell that the cheaper top was made of polyester and had a bulky fit. When she put on the Vince top, she sighed audibly. It was soft and draped in all the right places. We didn't end up getting that piece (or the cheaper version), but it was a great experience to have. Colleen did choose to spend a little more on a different quality silk top, from the brand Joie. Of course, being at Nordstrom Rack, it was still a great deal. She absolutely loved it and will wear it for a long time.

We moved on to the Galleria and quickly picked up a few additional items at H&M and the Limited. Colleen also picked up a few pieces on her own. Between her work and our shopping trip, she ended up with almost everything else on her list (all the pieces in italics above were purchased).

With the new pieces and the basics she already had, she'll be able to make dozens of new combinations. 

Here's a little of what Colleen had to say:

"I really appreciated your calm, cool demeanor and kind way of handling the clothes I had and the issues I had with them. I never once felt embarrassed or uncomfortable. You are great at putting someone at ease in what is obviously a really personal situation. I also liked how customized your service really is - you seem to value the fact that everyone is going to have unique issues and so there's not a perfect formula for how you interact, you can just go with the flow and tailor it to what they need most.

I learned how to tackle the Nordstrom Rack craziness and how to speed through the mall staples. I also learned you should take half days off work to go shopping so you don't have to torture yourself on the weekend!

I seriously feel so much better. I wore the jacket yesterday and just smiled whenever I caught my reflection - I felt pulled together, just like I wanted! Thank you so much. I feel a million times more confident."

thoughts on dressing for pregnancy

thoughts on dressing for pregnancy

Well, it's certainly curbed my shopping habit. It's too depressing to look at things that I can't wear and have no idea if I will ever fit into.

Vince blouse , BaubleBar necklace, thrifted Indigo Blue jeans, BCBG flats

Vince blouse, BaubleBar necklace, thrifted Indigo Blue jeans, BCBG flats

Trying to shop while pregnant is the antithesis of how I like to approach buying. I like to buy things that will last forever or at least for a few years. With pregnancy, things are constantly changing. Literally, things that fit yesterday don't fit today. You have no idea what size or shape your body will be for the next month, 6 months, year. Your size (in clothing and shoes) may permanently change. I'm grateful for the pieces I already owned which are still working at 6 months pregnant and that I know will work postpartum as well, like the Vince top above.  Sometimes, you have to buy things that will only work for a short few months (the horror!). I do feel as though I'll need a new pair of jeans any day now, although I've mostly avoided short term needs so far with loose tops, stretchy dresses and pants.

Same top pre-pregnancy - well, I was actually, but only a few weeks.

Same top pre-pregnancy - well, I was actually, but only a few weeks.

Another side effect of not knowing what size I'll be is that I've hung on to a few things that were destined for the "donate" pile, just in case, you know. And I'm breaking one of my own cardinal rules of purging by keeping things "just in case".

As of right now, in terms of new specific maternity clothes, I've still only purchased the basics I bought back in October (see my maternity basics post) - black tee, black tank, black leggings and yoga pants plus a white tee and one pair of black maternity pants. I've thrifted and subsequently altered to fit 2 pairs of maternity jeans that are still working for me. I've also thrifted several (non-maternity) knit tops and dresses. Hint for pregnant ladies: with a pregnant belly, non-maternity dresses can all of a sudden work as tunics over leggings.

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I've been making do as I thought I would, by not putting pressure on myself to come up with amazing creative outfits, keeping it simple, and using scarves and necklaces to change it up a bit.

From  my instagram  - three necklaces layered for a night out over my well-used H&M dress

From my instagram - three necklaces layered for a night out over my well-used H&M dress

To be totally fair, I would be pretty ready for a change at this point in the winter, no matter what. Winter puts as many constrictions on dressing as pregnancy does, so really the only change this year is that I can't shop for things to alleviate the boredom. And is that really such a bad thing? Not in my book.

How are you all feeling? Bored with winter wardrobes? If you're pregnant, how have you approached shopping?

 

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