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personal style

five tips for a mindful shopping trip

five tips for a mindful shopping trip

The actual process of going to a store and purchasing clothing can be overwhelming or frustrating even for those who enjoy it. As we head into the summer sale season, I thought I'd share a few tips for mindful shopping.
 

Various pictures taken on client shopping trips...


1) Before going shopping, MAKE. A. LIST. I can't emphasize enough how important this is. You can't go shopping without knowing what you're looking for. Well, you can, but I can guarantee you will regret most of what you buy. A shopping list should come from defining your style, evaluating your wardrobe, and thoughtfully planning what is needed to make it function at its best. Also, be specific. "Clothes for work" is not an appropriate item for a shopping list. "Slim leg, neutral colored, stretchy cotton blend pants" is an appropriate item. "Top" = no good. "Printed blouse in a washable fabric with an a-line shape" = good. Get the idea?

2) Go shopping at a non-peak time like a weekday or first thing in the morning, even if this means taking a half day from work. It's worth it. Everything will be better. Salespeople will have more time to help, they will be in a better mood, there will be less noise, fewer people, more sizes available. This all results in a much less stressful experience. Wear comfortable shoes and a cross body bag so that your hands are free. Dress nicely and do your hair and makeup so that you feel good about yourself. Bring snacks and water. This might all seem trivial, but trust me, it's the difference between mindful and meltdown.

3) While browsing, focus on only one item on your list at a time. For instance, if you are looking for the printed blouse in our example above, pull only printed blouses on your first sweep through the store. Next, go back and look for the neutral slim leg pant. This way of isolating things helps cut through the visual clutter that can be overwhelming in a store with thousands of items. Try not to get distracted. Recently, a saleswoman I often work with offered to show me pants that hadn't been put out on the floor yet. My client and I were both temporarily swayed by the prospect of "new!" "secret!" pants, but since we were specifically shopping for tops, we declined to even look. 

4) Now you've made it to the dressing room. You've taken everything that might be an option, even if you're not sure. Things often transform when on a body, so don't rule something out because it doesn't look good on the hanger. This might mean that you're trying on 40, 50, 60 items. It's ok. Don't feel guilty about making work for the salespeople (or is that just me?), it's their job. Be quick and ruthless. If it works, put it aside as a potential buy. If it doesn't, don't take it personally and move on.

5) The decision making process will be easier if you follow the preceding steps. For instance, if you have the printed top on your list and you follow step three, you won't end up in the fitting room with things you don't need. If you have a snack, you won't buy something just because you're hangry and want to get out asap. So now you've tried everything. Revisit that first round of potential buys. Narrow down your options. Try them again. Take pictures. Get a second opinion (not because you're going to take it, but because it'll help you clarify what you really think). Do not take the opinion of the salesperson. Their goal is to get you to buy, regardless of whether you should or not. Ask yourself a bunch of questions: will this go with most of my wardrobe? Will I still like this in six months? Do I really need it? Why am I buying it? Am I buying it because it's cheap? Because it's on my list? Because it fits my style? Would I buy this if it wasn't on sale? Is this better than something I already have? (If so, get rid of the less good item in your closet immediately) Is this worth having an overstuffed, stress-inducing closet for? Will I want to return this in a few weeks, creating more work for myself?

We all make mistakes sometimes, but hopefully these tips will help you
avoid a few of them!

posts i read that i loved

posts i read that i loved

Between fighting off colds, traveling, and being up at nights through bouts of teething, I've read my fair share of content on the internet recently. Here are a few articles with topics I've often thought of blogging about, but now won't have to, since they already did! Now that I've collected them here, I notice that (coincidentally?) they all deal with the issue of aging and how it relates to your closet.

on a recent shopping trip for the perfect white shirt...

on a recent shopping trip for the perfect white shirt...

I truly think that expressing your personal style is more important than wearing the *most* flattering thing. What if you have a pear shape and a fitted bodice/full skirt dress is the most flattering item you can put on your body, but you're an edgy tomboy? You will not be happy in the "flattering" item. Over on Une femme d’un certain age, Susan writes about this - here's a sample of her post: 

"When we dress in a way that’s aligned and integrated with who we are, we create a kind of harmony that comes through even if we’re not following the rules of flattery."

 On Elle.com, Meghan O'Rourke writes about how she needed outside help to move on from her various past fashion personas to find a style that is "her". 

"Turns out letting go of so much at once is invigorating. It gives you permission to be the person you really are now. With their help, I found it surprisingly easy to part with not just my quirkier pieces but also the spontaneous twentysomething self who'd bought them. It was almost a relief to see her disappear, like a relationship I'd outgrown."

On the J. Crew blog, Alice Gregory helps me make my case for uniform dressing

"You save a lot of money by relinquishing trial-and-error shopping—those items you buy and never wear, try and fail to return. Gone is the mental math that goes into calculating how much you “paid per wear” for that sweater you only put on three times. And nobody thinks of a person who wears the same thing every day as unstylish."

As for books, recently I've been on  a Kate Christensen kick. Also enjoyed The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg, I'll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, The Heavy by Dara-Lynn Weiss, and some guilty easy reading by Elin Hilderbrand.

Have you read anything great lately?

uniform dressing

uniform dressing

My goal is to help people have an organized, streamlined closet that makes getting dressed easy. One surefire way to acheive this by having a uniform. To most people that might sound like an awful idea, wearing the same thing all of the time. But if it's what you love and feel good in, it's just going to free up brain space for other more important decisions. That reason is exactly why many schools have recently instituted uniform policies - to keep distractions to learning to a minimum. While a uniform can be restrictive to creativity, it also doesn't have to be as boring or unfashionable as a pleated skirt and white blouse. Let's look at a couple of examples.

Ironically, two of the women who do it best are two who the media have painted as mortal enemies: Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. Jennifer Aniston even talked about it recently in Glamour Magazine: "I pretty much have my uniform. A boyfriend jean, a wedge, a tank top. At night, I change the tank top to black and add some chains. Even on the red carpet, it has to be comfortable. I usually try to get some form of a T-shirt that looks like a gown. Like a longer tank top. A tank top, but with glitter on it."

Both women always look comfortable, like they actually walk in their shoes, not just from hotel to car to red carpet. Both women wear mostly neutrals: Angelina - grey, black, and nude; Jennifer - white, denim, and khaki. Both women have what would be considered "classic" style: Angelina - more of a sophisticated classic, and Jennifer - a girl-next-door classic. Both women favor clean lines and little embellishment for evening. And most people would agree that these two women have good personal style (except for maybe the odd leg pose here or there). 

Do you like these women's style? Would you change it up more or could you ever do a uniform? If so, what would it be?

(P.S. I don't recommend googling "Angelina Jolie nude flats". Just don't.) 

 

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pretty little liars' personal style

This has been the summer of binge-watching TV series - House of Cards, Scandal, Orange is the New Black... and one that I'm not entirely proud of - Pretty Little Liars. It's a total guilty pleasure, about four high school aged girls trying to figure out who murdered their friend. Although it's mindless entertainment, it's pretty suspenseful and engaging. From a fashion perspesctive, it's fun, because costume designer Mandi Line has clearly enjoyed defining each of the four core characters' styles. 

ashley-benson-lucy-hale-pll-pretty-little-liars-.jpg

From left, there's Emily Fields (played by Shay Mitchell), the sporty tomboy; Spencer Hastings (played by Troian Bellisario), the preppy debutante; Aria Montgomery (played by Lucy Hale), the punky artist; and Hanna Marin (played by Ashley Benson), the girly homecoming queen. I thought it would be fun to imagine what each characters' grown-up style would look like, so here goes: 

 

Emily's boyish style

Spencer's classic style

Aria's edgy style

Hanna's girly style

 

Do you watch the show? Did I get the girls' styles right? Which one are you most like? 

 

 

review: the ellements of personal style

review: the ellements of personal style

You all know that I believe before you can really assess your wardrobe or add to it, it's necessary to define your style. Sometimes it's helpful to see how others have achieved this, even if their style is 180 degrees away from yours. Here's a book that does just that: The Ellements of Personal Style by Elle Magazine editors Joe Zee and Maggie Bullock. 

This book is different from other instructional fashion books because there are no lists of "must-haves" or discussions of body types. Instead, this book focuses on the personal style of 25 "icons". There are a few that I'm not entirely convinced by - Ashley Green? Lea Michele? I doubt that these young starlets have really solidified their personal style (maybe Joe Zee knows something I don't) but aside from them, the majority of the women profiled are true fashion icons. 

Each profile includes short bios, interviews, and intimate photos of the icons' closets, homes, and wardrobes. For each, there is a moodboard of an outfit with accessories in her style, a "fashion obsession", a "style study" of a few of her real life outfits, and a list of her favorite shops.

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

credit: Time Life pictures/getty images

credit: Time Life pictures/getty images

Anjelica Huston: Iconic Simplicity

"Black and white is a good background for embellishment."

Credit: O.SCHMITT/BABIRAD/Sipa

Credit: O.SCHMITT/BABIRAD/Sipa

Dita von Teese: Pinup Precision

"Her taste in vintage began in high school, as a matter of economics. 'I went to a vintage store and thought, Oh, I can make that look like a Westwood if I pinch in the waist and pad out the hips. That was my goal - to get that look for less.' "

credit: willy vanderperre

credit: willy vanderperre

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Utilitarian Chic

"'My parents gave me this idea that you sort of find a uniform that fits you and feels comfortable,' she says - once you find it, you stick with it for years."

dvf dacy gillespie st louis personal stylist.jpg

Diane von Furstenberg: Relaxed Glamour

"My mission in life is to empower women. I do it through fashion, through mentoring, through philanthropy."

 

PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN SHEARER/WIREIMAGE.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN SHEARER/WIREIMAGE.COM

Milla Jovovich: Free Spirit

"...she dresses a bit like a child who happens to have an exceedingly well-stocked costume cupboard, following her heart instead of the trends and gleefully embellishing. 'Simplicity is hard for me' ".

IMG_3097.JPG

 There are many more great women profiled, such as Erin Wasson, Christina Hendricks, Yvonne Force Villareal, and Janie Bryant - check it out and tell me what you think!

 

 

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boho girl

boho girl

The other day I met my friend Dana for lunch. As I was waiting, I saw this cool boho girl walking down the street. Then I realized the cool boho girl was  Dana!

bn.jpg

I'd say we did a pretty good job defining her style! I'll take credit for half of this outfit (I thrifted the top and skirt for her) and Dana gets the credit for the other half (Target hat and Born sandals via Nordstrom Rack).

Doesn't she look great? 

my 5 favorite pinners on pinterest

my 5 favorite pinners on pinterest

As a personal shopper and wardrobe consultant, I use Pinterest as a tool to track my clients' style likes and to gather inspiration for them. I've also gotten quite a few friends hooked on Pinterest. One of the first things people ask is "how do I know who to follow?" It can be pretty overwhelming to just select a category and see the thousands of things pinned every minute, so I thought I might suggest a few places to start. There are many, many fashionable people on Pinterest, but these are all people who also pin often so you'll get a steady stream of inspiration.

photo by Jennifer Young via  http://blog.justinablakeney.com

photo by Jennifer Young via http://blog.justinablakeney.com

Justina Blakeney at http://pinterest.com/compai. One of the top pinners on the site, Justina has over 1.2 million followers. Her perspective is earthy, natural, and bohemian, with pins about motherhood, food, fashion, and home design. 

Mrs. French at http://pinterest.com/tracif/. Mrs. French has even more followers (over 4 million!) and her pins are often dreamy and romantic images. 

Dree Harper (http://pinterest.com/DreeHarper/) is a personal shopper, stylist, and regular contributor to my favorite site, Refinery29.com. She pins a wide range of things, from fashion-forward style, to vacation spots, to inspirational quotes.

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photo : oh darling photography
photo: oh darling photography


Joanna Goddard's pinterest page (http://pinterest.com/joannagoddard) is how I actually keep up with her super-popular blogA Cup of Jo. Lots of pins from her blog posts.

Joslyn is perhaps my favorite blogger. Her style is minimalist and artistic and I love how she writes honestly about handling life with a full time job and two daughters. I never get tired of reading her blog, and her pinterest page (http://pinterest.com/simplelovely/is just as beautifully curated.

So, anyone inspired to check out these pinners? Have any of your own favorites to recommend?