What TO wear!

Many style shows and magazines like to do features on what NOT to wear.  They show regular people, often on the street with their eyes blacked out, wearing things that are are unflattering, out of style, or in poor taste.

Well, this is not going to be that!  In fact, I’m starting a feature that is the opposite of that, a feature that shows you what TO wear!  I will take regular people, in fabulous outfits, and show them off to all of you!

My first What TO Wear feature is from Danielle.  She was captured out at the bars one night, and was rockin’ an amazing belt and white shirt.  She knew how to accent all her best features, and the white was an amazing crisp pop in a sea of black at the bars.  The ruffles and the belt added texture, it was perfect!

Danielle at the Row

 

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Stay classy Santiago!

Jubilation and thanks after emerging from the Chilean mine!

 

While some might expect a blog about style to be only about fashion and design, I tend to take a broader view of what it means to be stylish.  In fact, so does Webster.  I found a dictionary definition of style that read:  “a  particular, distinctive, or characteristic mode of action or manner of acting:  They do these things in a grand style.”  And no where recently has a grand style been more evident than with the rescue efforts of the Chilean miners.  From the moment they were found at the bottom of a bore hole, those miners were cared for and every attention to detail possible was overseen.  They were given healthy diets, medical care that included oversight by NASA doctors, cable TV piped in so they could keep up with the futbol matches, and transporting of messages from loved ones.  Experts were brought in from at least 10 other countries and multiple disciplines to oversee the engineering of the rescue tube, the Phoenix pod, and the treatment of the men while they waited.  They were even provided certain luxuries like cigarettes.  And while I’m sure at times it was very dark and very lonely down there, not one anti-depressant was administered, as all the reports showed the men in high spirits.

And when it came time to emerge to the surface, the world was there to watch.  We waited anxiously to hear when the rescue could begin, and even if the first miner would make it to the surface safely.  And once he did, to the sounds of cheering and tears, we began to count…2 out, 5 out, 17 out, 22 out….5 more to go, 3 more, 2 more, and finally, the foreman, 54 year old Luis Urzua emerged from the Phoenix, the last man to be pulled from 2,000 feet and 69 days below the earth’s surface.

Through the day and a half of extractions, Chile’s President, Sebastian Pinera was there at the site to greet the men as they emerged.  One man even went back for a second and third hug from his country’s leader.  A leader who made it his top priority to rescue his countrymen (and one Bolivian), and in doing so, put his country back on the world stage for more than its wine and dodgy political history.  A country who will for a while, symbolize hope for the world.  And when it comes to hope, well, it doesn’t get much more stylish than when we come together to help others, don’t you think?

 

Note:  Since this is a blog that also highlights fashion, you might be interested to know those sunglasses the miners were wearing?  Gifts from Oakley at $180 each!

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Let’s Talk Tatas

This blog entry needs to start with a disclaimer.  And, it might not be the one you’re expecting.  The one about how it’s been too long since my last post, and all my excuses for why it’s been that long.

Nope, it’s the one about the vernacular I’m going to use for what physicians commonly refer to as “breasts”.  While I know that is the technical, official and appropriate terms for the upper “lady parts”, I prefer not to use that term.  It’s too clinical for the girls that I have become well acquainted with since, oh, about the fourth grade.  So, I prefer to use “tatas”, “the girls”, “cleavage”, or the old faithful “boobs”.  Call it what you will, probably awkward and immature.  But at least not stuffy or formal.  Anyway, that’s the disclaimer.  I’m about to write an entry about bras, and since we need to discuss the objects that typically fill said bras, we’ve gotta have something.  And I’m probably not going to use “breasts”.  Proceed if you like….

If you’re a woman, then like most women, you do not enjoy bra shopping.  And you understand the delicate process of finding the perfect bra.  And once you find the perfect bra, you stick with it.  I know a woman who found her bra years ago, and now just goes into the department store, finds the box containing her bra, and gets out as quickly as possible.  That’s right, I said box.  That’s how long ago she found her “perfect bra”.  And the crazy thing is, it’s not a great fit on her.  She wears the straps too tight, and it does nothing for her tatas.  They don’t even fill the cups.  But it’s frustrating to continue to fight to find a right fit, so she just goes with what she knows.

I’ve had this same experience.  Thinking that I’ve found a fit that’s as good as it’s gonna get, only to get sick of it later.  The elastic stretches out, the cups runneth over or get stretched out, the back digs in, and I’m back at Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, or even Cacique, trying to find a great fit.  And only finding a temporary solution.

That is, until a few years ago.  That’s when a friend invited me to a Bra Party.   A what?, you say.  That’s right, a Bra Party.  You’ve been to parties for kitchenware, candles, jewelry, why not bras?  This is what I told myself to get the guts to go.  Well, that and one of the selling points of this bra is that it is Oprah’s favorite bra.

Now, I don’t know if you watch Oprah, or even remember this episode, but a bunch of years ago, Oprah and her whole staff had a search for the best bra ever.  They had bras sent in from all over the place, and all different shapes and sizes of women tried them out.  And they determined that this Bra Party company (Essential Body Wear) makes the best bras.  And ever since then, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Oprah’s boobs look amazing!  So I thought, if it’s good enough for Oprah, I’ll try it out.

I was expecting it to be awkward, and that I’d have to call out my cup size in front of a bunch of ladies that I had just met.  But it wasn’t like that at all.  The rep, Ebonye, had each woman come to her little display one at a time.  She talked to us about what kinds of bras we typically liked, took our measurements, and then had suggestions for their different styles.  It was great because within about two bra styles, she had me matched.  Truly a custom fit!

And she had us each do a little experiment.  We had to keep on our current bra, go in the bathroom, and put star stickers where our nipples were.  Then, we had to leave the stickers on, and try our shirt on over one her bras.  No joke, the difference in lift and proximity could be measured in inches!  We were all shocked.

And one of my favorite parts of these bras is that they support from the back, sides and back hooks, not from the straps.  So it eliminates pressure on the shoulders.  They also are thick enough to wear under a T shirt without sharing too much information on a chilly day.

They are a little pricey, but if they are well cared for they can last about a year.  I recently placed a new order, and found they are adding some accents to new designs.  A picture is below.  If you are interested check out http://www.essentialbodywear.com

Now, not all of the ladies at the party found these bras to be the best for them.  But what I learned is that there is a quality fit and style of bra out there for every tata.  Oprah’s, mine, and yours.

So keep looking ladies.

The latest new design, the "Kelsey". For "making mountains out of mole hills".

Fav new addition to my collection, the "Stella".

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Happy 2010!

Start the year off backwards!

Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to 2010!

If you’re like me, you’ve already had a discussion with friends & family, and yourself, about what some of your goals are for the new year.  And the new decade!  Mine range from health to relational, and definitely encompass my wardrobe!  I’ve got a number of items that are in my closet, but have not been worn in a season, or three.  So it’s time to  purge!

Today is the perfect day to get started….we’ve got time to do it (the other option of all day bowl games might make this even more appealing!  And even if you love college football, there’s time during commercials!), we’ve had the ultimate reset button pushed (a new month, new year, new decade), and we’ve got a three day weekend to tackle a few of these little to do’s.  Not only that, but you’ve got to make room for the great pieces that 2010 is going to bring your way!

You can do a quick initial sweep or a complete overhaul, so head to your closet right now, here we go!

To pass on a little tip from Tim Gunn, start by making four piles:

Keep

Mend

Give Away

Throw Away

For keeping, create a system to make sure you’ll wear these items.  I know, I know, I keep harping on having a system, but if you’re not wearing it, what’s the point in keeping it?  (Or really, buying it in the first place?  But that’s a topic for a future post!).  A great place to start today is by turning all your hangers the opposite direction, hanging with the hook facing you.  That way, after you wear something, you can put the item back with the hook facing away, and you’ll know you’ve worn it.  If items are still backwards in a few months, then take another look at keeping them.  Also, group things by type (pants, tops, skirts, dresses, ties, and so on), and even by color.

For mending, you can do this yourself, enlist the help of a friend or neighbor, or find a great seamstress.  A lot of dry cleaners have a seamstress in house, or you ask a friend, or try Yelp.  If you live in San Jose, Nancy’s Alterations on Saratoga Ave is the best one I know.  You can recover some much loved items from the Give Away and Throw Away piles if you mend them.  Remember, a missing button is not a deal breaker!

For giving away, these should be items still in good and wearable condition, but maybe they don’t fit you properly or you’ve just never worn them.  See if any of your friends the same size want them first, as this is a great way to enhance each other’s wardrobes and still keep within budget.  Your next stop can be the Goodwill or other charitable organization.

For throwing away, these will be things that no one would wear.  They’ve got a hole or rip that can’t be mended, a stain that won’t come out, the fabric has started to pill.  If you’re on the fence about whether something is give away or throw away, here’s a good question:  Would you want to give it to your best friend to wear?  If no, throw away.

One other option for clothes in this category:  throw them into a spot in the garage or laundry and use them as cloth rags.  My mom used to call this the “rag bag”.

It can help to have someone to edit with you.  Be sure to find someone who will give an honest opinion, and can be objective about what works on you!

At the end of last year, I offered a limited number of closet clean outs (a two hour consultation) for just $50!  I’ve got just one of these left, so be sure to schedule with me right away if that will be yours!

Happy New Year to each of you.  Here’s to a year of fresh starts and fantastic new outfits!


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Packing Practically and Practically Packing!

I’m just about packed for my holiday travel, and wanted to share with you some quick tips about maximizing your space when you pack!  It’s an especially good practice this time of year, what with having to transport gifts back and forth, and often having to pack bulkier clothes that you might in any other season due to cold weather.  So here goes:

Space Savers

-Use space bags:  You can get these at the Container Store or Bed, Bath & Beyond (among others).  They shrink your clothes down and allow you to fit a lot more in your luggage.

-Roll your clothes:  Helps maximize space and minimize wrinkles.  I usually fold the clothes in half, and roll from there.

-Pack in color schemes:  One way to get lots of mileage out of your travel wardrobe, is to color coordinate everything.  I like to pack blacks, whites, grays, pinks and denim.  When everything goes together, it helps to minimize the number of clothing items you pack, as well as the number of accessories like jewelry, shoes and handbags.

Color Palette

-If you’re an over-packer:  when everything is packed in your bag, take at least one item out.  Think if you’ll really wear it given all the other choices you have.

-If you under pack:  throw in one frivolous item just because you love it!  Leave some of the practicality at home in favor of bringing along a fav.

-Another way to minimize packing too much, is to book lodging that has laundry facilities.  That way, you can pack half as much and do a wash half way through your trip.

-If you are traveling with a friend or relative who is a similar size and has a similar style, coordinate with him or her so you can trade items throughout your trip.

-Once you arrive:  Be sure to take items out of your suitcase that might wrinkle and hang them right away.  Also (and I’ve been teased for this one), I like to iron everything right when I arrive.  That way, I don’t have to rush and do it right before rushing out to a dinner or event.  But, that may just be best for people like me who find ironing to be relaxing.  At the very least, get them out of the bottom of your bag.  Hanging everything right away will also help to make sure you wear everything you bring because you’ll be looking at it.

Feel free to post your own tips to share.  Wishing you happy and safe travel this holiday!

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Sarah’s closet

Love this outfit!

This weekend brought another closet clean out opportunity!  My good friend, Sarah, wanted help editing what she already has, and putting together a shopping list for our upcoming excursion.  Sarah is actually really organized.  Her closet is small, and you would be amazed at the volume of clothing she fits into it!  Check out the before shot!

This is the BEFORE shot!

Sarah and I had gone out shopping over a year ago, before she took a big trip to France and before she got pregnant.  Her adorable little guy is about 7 months now, and Sarah is back into her pre-baby clothes!  As she is still nursing, there are a couple of “accommodations” that need to be made, especially with her tops, but all very workable.  Also, she had a few items we had purchased last time that she was still figuring out how to work in.  Take the top she is wearing in the picture above.  She bought one in white and one in navy last time.  But they never seemed to fit right.  The tops have a tie at the waist, and when Sarah tied it in the back (as many ties go), it left all this extra fabric in the front, leaving it looking like a maternity top!

This can't be right!

Tied in the front!

Well, we figured out the top ties in the FRONT!  Now it looks adorable.  And Sarah was really excited to wear it, so now it will be worked back into the rotation.

Another item that we needed to work in, was a great turquoise belt that we bought last time.  It is one of Sarah’s signature colors, a good width for her waist, but just hadn’t been worked in yet.  Here are some different ways to wear it:

Grey lace dress with white tank under.

Grey knit dress

Button down top, white tank, black trousers.

I’m especially excited about the gray lace dress as this is one that needed a little “accommodation” until the nursing phase is over.  So we added the tank, and then the belt provided structure while leaving half the buttons open.  I also really like the one with the trousers, it reminds me of Michelle Obama.  Sarah wasn’t as sold, which is totally fine!  You’ve gotta love what you wear, and even if someone else does, it won’t fly if you don’t.

The time with Sarah flew by, and I’m looking forward to our shopping excursion to fill in some key pieces she needs!

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Katie’s closet

Before we got started

As the New Year approaches, it’s time to look at everything with fresh eyes and fresh goals, including our closets!  Just a few days ago, I had the chance to help my friend Katie do just that.  She’s recently lost about 40 pounds, and can fit back into some things she used to love to wear.  But she was also faced with taking a fresh look at what she had, and whether or not they were items she still wanted to keep.

I learned a lot from this closet clean out, wanted to share some of it with you:

-A woman’s closet can be a very emotional place.

We keep things people have given us even if we don’t like them, simply for the emotional connection to that person.  We keep things we think we might possibly, maybe want to wear again someday, even if we haven’t worn it in 5 years.  We keep things because we wore it to a significant event in our life, maybe 10 years ago or more.  So the challenge comes in when to let go.  This is actually really tough, because I can think of things I got from my mom, that she got in the 70s, I kept in a drawer for years, and finally found the perfect use for, and I would have been so bummed to not have had.  But, we can’t keep everything or we end up on that show “Hoarders”.  So you’ve really got to ask yourself some hard questions:

Do I LOVE this?

Is it something I have an emotional connection and a style connection to?

Does it fit me?

How do the people in my life react when they see it on me?  Grimace?  Compliments?

Do I have enough space to keep it?

If you’re still not sure, put these items in a place in your closet and mark your calendar 6 months from now.  When that date comes, check them out again and see if you’re ready to commit one way or the other.

-We can shop in our own closet.

I’ve done some closet clean outs that involve tossing old, worn, out of date clothes, and then making a shopping list for an entirely new wardrobe.  This was not the case with Katie.  She has outfits for every occasion:  work, performing at church, baby/bridal showers, weddings, date nights, beach, vaca.  The shopping list I left Katie with was literally:  black boots and more colorful accessories.  Katie’s biggest challenge is developing a better rotation for things she has, to make certain she wears everything.  Like many of us, she falls into wearing jeans much of the time, or dresses when the weather is warm.  She also has a number of CUTE skirts and dress pants that don’t get much time in the light of day (or in the city lights at night).

The action item I left her with on this one is that she’s got to wear 50% of her current clothes before she can purchase anything new.  Judging from the size of the piles, she will have worn many new outfits before she hits the quota.  Which is great, because she’s using what she has, helping both the environment/landfill and her pocketbook!

Develop a system for wearing everything.  I know people who make schedules for this.   I even have a friend who had a rotation based on the colors of the clothes.  She had a red day, orange/yellow day, green/blue day, and so on.  Wild, right?  This can work for some, but one of the easiest things to do is use the visual aid of your clothes hangers.  When you’ve worn something, turn its hanger around backwards.  When everything is facing the wrong way, start over again.

-Accessories are an easy way to get mileage from what we have.

One of the trends that changes most is accessories.  Just think, were we wearing thick, chunky belts a couple years ago?  I for sure did in ’86, but back then we rocked it with the big bangs and side pon!  But that trend is back in a slightly modified way.  What’s cool, is we can still use the same sweaters and basic dresses we’ve had for several years, just do a a belt or a chunky necklace.  Again, this keeps it fresh, with just a couple simple purchases.

-Know what lines look best on you.

Katie tried on a number of her dresses, and what we found is that the best options for her had the length either around the knee or floor length, with medium width shoulders and a deep V neck collar.  These lines lengthen her, accentuate her collar bones, arms and other assets really well.  Check out the picture of her in the red and black dress!  Then compare that to the short sleeve, tea length dress and you’ll see what I mean.

And, just to highlight the emotional power that our clothes can have over us, Katie was going to get rid of the black and red dress, and keep the tea length dress simply because someone important to her bought it as a gift.  This is where it becomes really important for us to have someone objective working with us to help the editing process.

Tea Length

Red & Black

I had a blast with Katie, and she did awesome letting go of some emotional pieces.  Big congrats to her for letting go of the extra weight, both literally and figuratively!  She rocks!

Closet clean outs are a great way to refresh your wardrobe, and really your life!  This winter, I’m offering a special rate for the first 5 people to sign up for a closet clean-out.  We’ll do a 2 hour session for $50!  This is half the normal rate, and I’ve got 3 spots left.  These consultations are an awesome Christmas gift, or a great way to kick off your New Year!  Contact me through a comment here or on my facebook page.

BEFORE

AFTER

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