In Pink

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Shades of pink continue to pack a punch this season. Usher in spring by wearing soft rose floral dresses or solid blush colored tops. If your tastes run to bolder colors, try accessorizing with a hint of pink.

Petal Pink Power

Eyeshadow
$9.98 – vestry.com

Eye makeup
$165 – charlottetilbury.com

Maybelline lipstick
maybelline.com

Burberry lip makeup
$28 – net-a-porter.com

Nail polish
nailsinc.com

Spring style preview

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Spring is right around the corner. Soon you will cast off your boots in favor of open toed shoes. Until then, think pink, feminine kitten heels, and soft neutral pants.

Spring style preview

Ted Baker wool cape
$285 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Michael Kors zipper pants
$140 – stylebop.com

Wall art
hattanhome.com

WallPops wall art
nordstrom.com

Sole sense: making the case against stiletto heels

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Maybe 2016 will be the year when women say “enough is enough” to mega high heels. As a stylist, I’m the first person to appreciate the aesthetics of heels as they add height and enhance the shapeliness of a woman’s legs. Heels vs. flats also instantaneously dress up any outfit.

Since the mid 90’s however, I’ve watched as heel heights grew from three to as high as six inches. Every time I see a lady teetering awkwardly on her stilettos, I ask myself why she would subject herself to such torture. My only explanation is that many women have bought into the fashion industry driven hype that a five-inch high heel, like a glass slipper, magically transforms them. Christian Louboutin, author of the quote, “High heels are pleasure with pain”, also has this to say about their allure:”The higher the better. It’s more about an attitude. Higher heels empower women in a way.”

The myriad health risks associated with consistent high heel use are well documented. A 2013 Women’s Health Magazine article “What Happens To Your Body When You Wear Heels” explains that wearing a four-inch heel puts 30% more pressure on the front of the foot, thus stressing these bones and nerves as well as tightening the Achilles and adjoining tendons of the ankle. The article goes on to list the other unfortunate body parts victimized by consistent high heel use, such as knees, hips, and lower backs.

To all you stiletto wearing diehards, I invite you to step into some of this year’s high heel alternatives, such as block heels and sleek pumps. Who knows? You may like the way your feet feel and your legs look in these shoe styles. Having lived through decades of shoe trends and advised clients for years on their wardrobes, I can honestly say that moderate heel heights win the prize for both elegance and sexiness.

Sole Sense: 2016 Shoe Trends

J.Crew kitten heel shoes
$370 – jcrew.com

Black shoes
riverisland.se

Kate spade shoes
katespade.com

Talbots shoes
talbots.com

Three vest trends and how to wear them

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The menswear trend in women’s fashion is all the rage this season. Ask any classic or chic dresser and they will tell you that they prefer wearing timeless pieces that epitomize simplicity and sartorial excellence. Nothing spells sophistication like flared trousers and a silk blouse, paired with either a beautifully tailored single or double breasted jacket.

Those who gravitate to menswear-inspired styles also appreciate the power of a great vest. A lifelong vest lover myself, I routinely scour sales racks and online sites for this “third piece”. In the mid 90’s I bought a hip length black suede vest trimmed in black leather at Nordstrom Rack. From a cost per wear perspective, this purchase stands as the best investment I ever made. My collection also includes a full-length faux fur vest by Betsey Johnson. A cozy and fun companion, it looks smashing with jeans and a tunic top or over a coat to provide an extra layer of protection from the elements. I found my latest acquisition on EBay, a chocolate brown suede and leather Cache vest with zippered pockets. What a score.

Why am I such a devotee of this accessory? Simply, vests elevate an outfit’s style quotient by adding visual interest and a seamless presence. Wear a puffer vest on the weekends running errands or a long sweater vest to work with an interesting top and you will always look pulled together. Why not wear an eye-catching vest to one of your holiday gatherings, as long as it isn’t of the Christmas theme variety!

Three  trending menswear vests

RED Valentino striped shirt
$550 – redvalentino.com

Polo Ralph Lauren vest
$195 – stylebop.com

Topshop vest
nordstrom.com

Theory wide leg pants
$390 – net-a-porter.com

NYDJ denim legging
$210 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Aerosoles brown shoes
bloomingdales.com

Fall shoe essentials

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Last week I set out on a mission with one of my clients to replenish her shoe collection. Since she had enough work shoes, we spent our time looking for boots, flats, and active wear shoes. It took us a total of two hours at two stores to find just the shoes she needed for a well-rounded shoe wardrobe.

Studies show that women own about nineteen pairs of shoes at any given time, and they also purchase seven new pairs each year. There are those with an Imelda Marcus mindset that need to accumulate more and more shoes. I once knew someone who had an entire extra closet built to house all of her acquisitions. On the other hand, one of my minimalist friends does fine with five pairs of shoes. Although the right amount and type of shoes to own depends on both the lifestyle and the diversity of a person’s wardrobe, here is my list of top ten fall shoe essentials:

1. One pair of neutral equestrian style tall boots;
2. One pair of short flat boots/booties;
3. One pair of short booties/shooties with medium to high heel;
4. One pair of modern loafer or driving moccasin style shoe;
5. One pair of neutral ballet type flat;
6. One pair of special occasion shoes;
7. One slip of rubber sole casual wear shoe – Keds, Toms, Vans, or the equivalent;
8. One pair of heeled pumps;
9. One pair of rain or water repellant boots;
10. One wildcard – a just for fun shoe. Mine is a Michael Kors silver studded black and white oxford.

Does your shoe wardrobe resemble this list? What would you add to or delete from this list?

Shoe Essentials

Charlotte Olympia flat shoes
$660 – forzieri.com

Frye boots
backcountry.com

Frye ankle booties
nordstrom.com

Kate Spade slip on shoes
couture.zappos.com

Tod’s slip on shoes
$420 – net-a-porter.com

Chloé ballet flat
shop-hers.com

Report suede boots
nordstrom.com

Top Guy knee boots
nordstromrack.com

Ballerina shoes
gojane.com

simple shoe prints
openclipart.org

Three big fall fashion trends

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Fall is the time for hoodies and hot cocoa. It is the season for sweaters, spiced apple cider, and long walks through Falls Park. When early mornings and evenings turn chilly here in Greenville, SC, folks dress in layers and start wearing colors that mirror nature’s changing landscape. Those in the fashion know are wearing these latest three exciting trends:

Tunics: This versatile separate flatters a range of body types and ages. Tunics with asymmetrical hems as well as lace or sheer borders remain hugely popular this fall. What looks more pulled together than a tunic paired with leggings and a striking third piece, like a moto jacket or a swing cardigan?

Ponchos: The roots of this one piece armless blanket-style wrap date back to the ancient indigenous cultures of South America. The appeal of the poncho as both a protective rain garment and fashion statement has endured through the ages. Many of the Aztec patterned and fringe-hemmed ponchos of today resemble the iconic original garment from the Americas as well as ones from the 1970’s. Contemporary designers, taking the poncho to new fashion heights, have added fur and leather accents and used feather light cashmere and exotic tapestry-like materials.

Sweaters: Re-creations of this cold weather clothing essential appear in many forms this season. Oversized cardigans with high-low hems and fine gauge maxi sweater dusters make perfect autumnal layering pieces. Speaking of oversized, the trending style in cropped and long pullovers is extra roomy. Cowl necks and turtlenecks are back big time as are chunky cable and Fair Isle knit sweaters.

If you need some inspiration about how to liven up your fall wardrobe, this visual shows you which pieces instantaneously do the trick.

What is your favorite “go to” fall look?

Fall Sweaters

Wallis fringe top
wallisfashion.com

Oasis long sleeve shirt
$58 – johnlewis.com

French Connection pull on pants
$185 – frenchconnection.com

Rag & bone black jeans
$330 – net-a-porter.com

Short boots
shein.com

Red purse
romwe.com

Warehouse crossbody handbag
$38 – warehouse.co.uk

DesignSix drop earrings
$10 – asos.com

Red hat
$15 – newlook.com

Heart sticker
$5.98 – zazzle.co.uk

How to dress an Emerald or rectangular body type

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

I received my styling training from a Seattle-based organization called The DRES System. The company’s founder, Margaret Spencer, believes that “everyone possesses their own unique beauty and authentic style”. It’s our job to bring out that beauty for the world to see.” I use DRES System’s body type designations because they promote the notion that each woman is as unique as a precious gemstone: Diamond (hourglass), Emerald (rectangular), Sapphire (triangle), and Ruby (inverted triangle).

Emeralds come in all sizes and are the most common figure type. Tune into any televised women’s track or soccer event and you will see your share of them in action. As most women age, they become Emeralds because their waists expand. Because Emeralds’ shoulders and hips are balanced and their arms and legs are usually well proportioned, creating an illusion of a smaller waist is the secret to dressing them. Maintaining the balance between the shoulders and hips and playing up the waist creates curves in all the right places. An Emerald’s best wardrobe companions are fit and flare dresses, peplums, open front jackets, and flare leg pants. Layering dark colors over light, strategic color placement at the waist, and wearing varying shades of one color palette also sculpt this body type. Boxy tops and formless shift dresses, on the other hand, produce the opposite effect.

Emeralds will surely sparkle in these outfits.

Rockin looks for rectangular body types

Badgley mischka dress
$250 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Topshop white v neck shirt
$67 – nordstrom.com

Uniqlo shirts top
$7.63 – uniqlo.com

Vanessa Bruno long sleeve jacket
$270 – thecorner.com

MANGO long brown jacket
$185 – johnlewis.com

Dolce&Gabbana brown dress pants
$355 – farfetch.com

Amanda Marcucci long beaded necklace
$345 – wolfandbadger.com

Michael kors earrings
bloomingdales.com

Jules Smith necklace
renttherunway.com

Summer clothes that work

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

There is plenty of summer left, especially in Greenville, SC, where the temperatures hover around 94 degrees most days. Secrets to summer dressing include wearing light colors and breathable fabrics. For more information on this subject, check out my 2012 Examiner.com article “How to stay cool and stylish in the heat.”

Style conscious dressers always want to look good when they go to work, even during the dog days of summer. This outfit combines fashion forward and super comfy wide leg pants with one of this season’s hottest colors and trends, a cropped sunflower yellow top. Even when it’s steamy outside, many offices feel like a deep freezer. When the a/c blasts at full throttle, this classic denim blazer provides strategic coverage and also looks totally chic. I love these work appropriate closed toe Fly London wedge sandals. Clients often ask me where I find stylish comfort shoes. I was first introduced to Fly London when I worked in a Washington, DC boutique that sold this brand. Everytime I wear my Fly London shoes, my feet feel terrific and I always get lots of compliments.

What’s your favorite summer work casual look?

Summer office style

Fly london shoes
nordstromrack.com

Tory burch tote
toryburch.com

Four decorating steps to a stellar bedroom

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

If the amount of time we spend in rooms is a measure of their importance, then bedrooms, above all other spaces in our home, deserve preeminent status. Experts estimate that sleeping alone takes up one-third or twenty-six years of a person’s lifetime. When you add in all the other activities that happen in bedrooms, they should be thought of as a home’s nerve center. I begin and end each day checking emails and organizing my life from the comfort of my bed.

I chose our bedroom as the first room to decorate when my husband and I bought our historic house in downtown Greenville, South Carolina one year ago. We spent almost every waking hour of the five months leading up to our move from Washington, DC tackling the task of selling our home of thirty years. Now I fully understand why many folks prefer to undergo multiple root canals than endure one of life’s most stressful experiences. I knew I immediately needed to create a bedroom oasis that would soothe the memories of living in chaos and out of boxes.

I applied my wardrobe styling skills to help me with this decorating project, and in doing so, I discovered the similarities between dressing people and dressing rooms. The creative process I followed resembles the one I use with clients who hire me to elevate their image. Whether your boudoir requires a complete overhaul or only some minor tweaking, answering these four questions will help you construct a roadmap to transform your space into a design showcase:

1. What are the issues with your bedroom now? Do you lack adequate storage space or lighting? Perhaps your bed treatments look more shabby than chic. Start by listing and prioritizing what you need and want in your enhanced space;

2. Does your room reflect your personal style? Since we seek congruity between our interior and exterior selves, then it stands to reason that we also want to leave our style imprint on our surroundings. If you adore modern minimalism, but your duvet and pillows look like they jumped out of Country Living Magazine, then perhaps you and your bedroom suffer from irreconcilable style differences. Greenville interior designer and home stager, Karen Roberts, says that when individuals follow their gut decorating instincts, they end up loving where they live;

3. Are you holding on to items well beyond their expiration date? Although a coat of paint often revitalizes a tired nightstand, sometimes other items need to be kicked to the curb, like the lamp that dates back to your dorm room days. Editing, a stylist’s polite term for purging, frees you to advance your decorating aspirations;

4. How do I create a vision for my bedroom? Once you determine what you need and identify your authentic style, then look at home decorating books, magazines, and online decorating sites for inspiration. Browse stores for one-of-kind statement making pieces. As Roberts says, “thrift store furnishings with a fresh coat of paint or new upholstery do wonders for making a retreat unlike everyone else’s on the block.”

Having completed your homework, selecting your room’s core neutrals and accent colors is a perfect launch point for building your dream bedroom. Wearing colors that illuminate your hair, eyes, and complexion boosts your image just as choosing restful room shades sets the stage for relaxation. Let’s say you go with the new grey-beige hybrid “Greige” for your walls, and white for your woodwork and window treatments. Imagine dressing your bed in shades of blue, one of this season’s trending color palettes, and accessorizing with pops of Marsala, Pantone’s rich red wine color of the year.

Turning your attention to your bed is the next logical decorating step. Since it is your room’s focal point, it deserves to be dressed in the best bed coverings, like those from Parachute Home. This Venice Beach, California company offers luxury bedding at an accessible price point. At Parachute Home, you can purchase superior Egyptian cotton sheet sets, duvets, and duvet covers in five soothing colors. Parachute Home products are custom- made in Tuscany by skilled artisans “who have been weaving world class bedding for over sixty years”. The company also sells additional items to complete your sumptuous sleeping experience, like cashmere throws, pillows, and scented candles.

Upgrading your bedroom is an investment in yourself. Think of how good you will feel each night when you settle into your beautifully decorated bedroom haven. As the song goes, “Sweet dreams are made of this.”

White wash your wardrobe

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Whether you follow fashion tradition about when to wear white or allow the weather to dictate your color choices, fashionistas everywhere agree that now is the time for white. Besides the fact that white keeps you cooler in hot weather and always looks fresh, this enduringly popular color is having its day in the sun. Models sporting white from head to toe grace the pages of leading fashion magazines. Linen pants, white lace dresses, white satchels, and white Birkenstocks are among this season’s trending items.

Whites definitely take a beating. Not only are they dirt magnets, but unexplained stains invariably magically appear on white clothes. I always examine my whites closely each year at the beginning of spring. Sadly, this season I parted with my favorite pair of white Adriano Goldschmied jeans because they had started to turn yellow, an affliction common to whites. This was a blow since they lasted me four summers and fit like a dream. I replaced them with light-weight BCBG skinny jeans which actually suit Greenville summers better than my treasured AG’s. I also bought a paper thin white tee-shirt and a white cotton cropped eyelet sleeveless blouse from the Gap, which I plan to wear with my summer pants. For the past few summers I’ve searched for that perfect white summer dress but haven’t found it yet.

This might be an ideal time to purge your closet of worn out whites since stores are well stocked with white clothes and accessories. Buying a few key white pieces also instantly updates any wardrobe. Sales already abound in spite of the fact that summer’s official start date is still weeks away. If shopping is in your future, please let me know if you come across any amazing white dresses during your travels.

White Wash

Alice You white shirt
$24 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Banana Republic wide-leg pants
bananarepublic.gap.com

Birkenstock white shoes
$91 – thehut.com

Marc by marc jacobs bag
barneyswarehouse.com