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

Frye ankle booties

Kate Spade slip on shoes

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

Chloé ballet flat

Report suede boots

Top Guy knee boots

Ballerina shoes

simple shoe prints

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

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

Red purse

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

Go glam with gold

Friday, October 31st, 2014

In the 1991 movie “What about Bob”, Bill Murray classified people into two categories, those who like Neil Diamond and those who don’t. I always laugh about this line because my husband loves Neil Diamond and I never “got” him. The fact that he wrote Red Red Wine, however, almost makes me want to revisit his music.

Based on my experience as a wardrobe stylist, I theorize that folks are more accurately grouped according to their penchant for either silver or gold instead of their affinity for a 1960’s music icon. My clients over the years have definitely expressed a preference for one precious metal over the other. On more than one occasion clients have even described themselves as gold or silver “girls”. Statements like this give even more credence to the notion that we wear clothes and accessories that express who we are on the inside.

I’ve had a lifelong affection for gold, perhaps because I am a redhead with a warm complexion. Don’t get me wrong. I own my share of silver jewelry and wear it when the mood strikes me or my outfit calls for it. Silver is my jewelry of choice for summer because it psychologically feels light and suits pastels well.

2014 is definitely a gold year. All sorts of gold jewelry, from Egyptian inspired chokers to flapper style tassel pendants abound this season. Apparel also has the Midas touch, as is evidenced by gold sequined sweatshirts, and gold detailed shoes and boots. Undoubtedly many women will wear gold dresses during the holidays. The latest special occasion dress designs, like gold chevron shifts and grecian gowns with gold embellishments, harken back to the 1960’s. Actually, I wore a gold gown to my high school prom. No ordinary dress, this was a Mary Quant (mini skirt originator) which I purchased it at a London boutique. Simple but unforgettable, it transformed me into an old time movie star.

Fashion’s latest and greatest color combination is black and gold. Guests of this year’s Red Shoe Society’s Greenville Royale benefitting Ronald McDonald House of the Carolinas are invited to wear black and gold to this gala with a James Bond theme. What could be more appropriate for an evening of espionage than a color combination that epitomizes elegance, mystery and sensuality!

The stylist in me can’t wait to see how folks wear gold and black. I just might see looks like the two below at this fabulous event.

Gold Gamour

The Limited Scandal collection

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Ever since I fractured my leg in August, I’ve taken to online shopping. When my sister came to visit me last month, she mentioned how many items she purchased during her last trip to the Limited. I’ve always liked the store, but unfortunately the clothes haven’t been sized for my body. When I went online, however, I discovered that the site carried petites in my size. I also came upon the Scandal line, inspired by the outfits that Kerry Washington wears on this t.v. hit series. I found so many items I just loved and went about ordering three sweaters, two tops, and the blush slacks featured in my visual. I would have purchased the blush wrap coat but it was not available in my size.

Even though I expected my purchases either not to fit or live up to my expectations, the exact exact opposite was true. I’ll start with the slacks, since pant shopping challenges my resourcefulness. The pants fit me perfectly. More often than not, petite slacks run too short for me since I’m on the cusp of petite. Although their true color resembles more of a blush/champagne and not a pink, it is a pleasing and very neutral shade. I’m also happy with the sweaters and tops, especially because they look different from the styles you see in every store. One top I bought on sale is a blush halter top with a silver, white and bronze sequined bib. I wore the trousers and top with a fitted Gianni Bini fitted blazer today to a luncheon. The outfit looked smashing and felt very comfortable.

Blush has just become my new favorite color because it goes so well with black, camel, white, grey, navy and burgundy. It also makes a terrific accent color. Wear a blush floral scarf with your black coat or beige trench. How about a blush open cardigan sweater over black leggings and a simple black top? Have you discovered blush yet?

Needless to say, I’ve joined The Limited fan club and will update you on whether my future purchases live up to the first one.

How to wear the color pink

What to wear on a fall weekend

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Fall weekends are meant to be savored, like an excellent cup of coffee. The weather is usually ideal, especially here in Greenville, South Carolina, where there is always some event taking place downtown. My featured outfit would be perfect for one of the city’s big events, Fall for Greenville, from October 10-12. Fun and comfortable, the set incorporates some major trends like sneakers, cropped sweatshirts, black and white, and chunky sweaters.

What will you wear to this music and food festival?

Early October weekend wear

The allure of black and white

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

It comes as no surprise that black and white ranks as one of this fall’s top fashion trends. When is this classic color combination not trending? Forever classy, black and white epitomizes sophistication and elegance. Those who crave color can easily add a pop of yellow, cobalt or pink to any black and white outfit.

Fall into black and white

Uncomplicated style

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

In my August 25th posting, “Style tips for overworked women“, I laid out five strategies for how to look your best when every day resembles an endless sprint. Essentially, style for the perpetually busy needs to be uncomplicated, and having a wardrobe that consists of functional, versatile pieces makes achieving a seamless look a whole lot easier. The concept of minimalism comes into play here as well. Time challenged individuals want to get dressed quickly, using as few clothes and accessories as possible.

I’m a huge fan of the wardrobe basics in this visual, because they offer endless style possibilities. Take the little black fit and flare dress, for example. Fashionistas can easily convert it into a jumper by wearing it over a sweater or feminine silk blouse. For those who like a more edgy look, they can pair the dress with a moto style jacket, like the cobalt blue one in the photo.

How would you style a fit and flare dress?

Uncomplicated style

Favored footwear at New York Fashion Week

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

If you doubted the wisdom of your decision to stock up on a few pairs of boots after the holidays, then find comfort in knowing that boots of every kind reigned this week at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Models walked the runway in taupe suede high heeled tall ones, and short flat ones that buckled and tied. This favored footwear noticeably took center stage at the BCBG, Koonhor and Emerson shows.

Boots, like blue jeans, endure because of their functionality, comfort, and versatility. I start wearing boots as soon as I feel a slight nip in the air, and wear them until the trees start blooming. Boot wearers everywhere have discovered that they often make an outfit.

New Yorkers love their boots, especially this week as the temps plunge into the teens. Even their furry companions follow suit. Check out this adorable Corgi in his pop of red booties.

Even furry friends in New York love their boots.

Even furry friends in New York love their boots.

Plaid Power

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

I grew up wearing plaid. My sister and I posed for an early childhood family Christmas portrait dressed in red plaid pleated skirts with plaid suspenders. We also had matching watch plaid fitted coats with green velvet hats. Fast forward to high school and watch plaid resurfaced again in the form of our winter school uniform, which consisted of a sewed down box pleated skirt, white oxford shirt, and a navy or green cardigan sweater. We also wore green blazers for formal school events. The mandatory one inch below the knee length of the plaid skirt dampened the look of this otherwise fine outfit. Our principal regularly conducted random skirt length checks to ensure that no knees ever saw the light of day. Shortened hems didn’t stand a chance under the watchful eyes of Sister Angela Merici. Patrolling the halls with a yard stick in hand, she zeroed in on unsuspecting dress code violators as they made their way to and from classes. As soon as we boarded the school bus at the end of every day, however, we began the fine art of skirt rolling. This ritual magically transformed our frumpy skirts into fashionable minis, or so we thought.

After a brief romance with plaid flannel shirts in college, I stopped wearing plaid altogether. Even after a very long hiatus, my passion for plaid hasn’t returned. Don’t get me wrong. I still admire beautiful plaid jackets, skirts and pants on other people, and buy plaid pieces for my clients. I even went so far as to try on a watch plaid vest by QMack at Macy’s in Greenville, SC recently. As adorable as it was, I returned it to the rack. I’m content to look back fondly on all of the plaid pieces I loved to wear.

What is your history with plaid? Do you love or loathe it? I personally love this stunning red and grey plaid fitted jacket, guaranteed to turn heads at any holiday office get together.

Festive holiday outfit for the office

Suited for Business Fashion Show

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
Corey offers her advice on the latest style trends.

Corey offers her advice on the latest style trends.

I recently hosted Suited for Business, a fashion show at the YWCA of Greenville. It marked the culmination of an entire week’s worth of educational and social events to celebrate National Women’s Business Week. Several area women’s organizations joined forces to offer an impressive list of programs ranging from a luncheon with reigning Miss South Carolina to a presentation on the key characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

I embarked on this ambitious project with three goals in mind: to recognize the accomplishments of women in business, present an array of stylish outfit options for the workplace, and raise money to support the programs of the YWCA of Greenville. My models, successful business women in their own right, walked the runway as confidently as they do business every day. They wore peplums and lace, sleek motorcycle jackets with dresses, plaid blazers and pops of cobalt. Dillard’s, Haywood Mall, provided the fashions, predominately from the lines of Antonio Melani, Gianni Bini and Vince Camuto. Event partners and sponsors such as Events with Amore, Grand Central Entertainment (DJ EmWy), Clay Daniel and Tara Ricci of Hair Bella Salon, and Upstate Event Services, offered their time and talents to create a glamorous girl’s night out for Greenville women.

DJ EmWy of Grand Central Entertainment created the right musical mood.

DJ EmWy of Grand Central Entertainment created the right musical mood.

No fashion show can go on without a photographer! Greenville’s own, Will Crooks, captured the essence of the evening’s entertainment. A current Furman University student,he is also The Guy Behind the Lens for the prominent Greenville, SC street style blog WAC AVE Street Photography. Will’s “…photographic perspective is focused on creating a positive dialogue and image of personal style in Greenville, SC. Will does not focus on capturing the latest trends but rather seeks out strangers who dress in a self-expressive manner while simply going about their daily lives. His snapshots provide personal style inspiration and expand the viewer’s appreciation of varied individual style”. Here is what Will saw through his artistic lens.

Cobalt blue jacket by Gianni Bini enlivens wardrobe basics.

Cobalt blue jacket by Gianni Bini enlivens wardrobe basics.

The ultimate power dress by Antonio Melani

The ultimate power dress by Antonio Melani

Corey talks fashion with Toni Chapman of Sheen Magazine.

Corey talks fashion with Toni Chapman of Sheen magazine.

The Gianni Bini double breasted blazer sweater makes a professional statement.

The Gianni Bini double breasted blazer sweater makes a professional statement.

Leopard print appeared on and off the runway.

Leopard print appeared on and off the runway.