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.”

Cabi clothing for spring

Friday, May 8th, 2015

I met my first Cabi consultant, Terry Sadowski, at a business networking event in downtown Greenville several months ago. Before launching a career with Cabi, Terry owned Plaza Suite, a popular clothing boutique in Greenville, South Carolina. The adorable leopard print Cabi coat and black slim ankle length pants that Terry wore that evening peeked my interest in the Cabi line. A few weeks later, I came upon three Cabi pieces in a client’s closet while conducting a wardrobe review with her. The quality, versatility, and fine fit of all three pieces impressed me. When I began creating outfits for my client from the clothes that remained in her closet after the edit, It quickly became apparent that her Cabi pieces stood out as the backbone of her wardrobe. Almost everything she owned went well with those three Cabi items.

When Terry approached me about hosting a Cabi party, I jumped at the chance to introduce my clients and friends to the line, and receive enormously discounted clothes for myself. I purchased an ultra soft pair of blush colored skinny jeans, a blue and white striped tee shirt with an eye catching asymmetrical hem, and a light-weight anorak jacket, ideal for Greenville’s springtime temperatures. Not only did my guests love the line, but many of them bought multiple pieces.

Here is a little taste of Cabi’s spring collection. I can see wearing this outfit to Artisphere this weekend.

Cabi Spring Collection

Boot shopping basics

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Boots are my favorite footwear. Even though I loathe cold weather, I can’t wait until the temperature dips enough to warrant breaking out my boots. Judging from the vast array of boots I see on a daily basis, other folks must feel the same way. I understand their widespread appeal, for boots keep your feet warm and comfortable, look good with almost anything, and have a long style life. Although tall riding boots are my all-time personal favorites, I’m also partial to short stacked heel booties.

I acquired my first pair of boots at the age of eight during a cross country trip from Indiana to California. After stopping at Frontier City in Oklahoma, I set my sights on a pair of cowboy boots, and nagged my parents until they bought them for me. No ordinary boots, these were turquoise and black and beautiful! Of course I wore them for the remainder of our entire trip along with a western style shirt and bolo tie. I probably looked like a cast member from the musical Annie Get Your Gun.

Since boots are a bit of an investment and you will want to enjoy them for many seasons, here are some shopping pointers to help you select the right pair for your style and foot needs:

1. Take Your Time

Don’t shop when you are rushed or in an impulsive mood. Before you enter a store, do some research online and pinpoint certain brands and styles that you like. Make sure you read boot ratings and customer reviews to better passess a boot’s suitability for you. Then hit the stores and try on all kinds of boots. Once you purchase a pair, “test drive” them at home for a week (only inside or the store will not accept your return) at different times of the day to make sure they fit well.

2. Learn about your feet

Go to a reputable shoe store or shoe department with well-trained sales clerks and get your feet properly measured. Become informed about your feet so that you select footwear that won’t end up collecting dust in your closet.

3. Think about your needs

Are you on your feet a lot or do you walk long distances to and from work?
Do you live in a climate where a waterproof boot with good traction is a must?
Do you have a foot type or condition that requires a specific design quality such as a wide toe bed or extra shock absorption in the heel? The boot you want may not necessarily be the boot you need. Listen to what your feet are telling you.

4. Look for brands that have a solid reputation for quality, comfort, and style.

Quality and comfort trump style anytime. What good is a gorgeous pair of shoes if they cause pain and damage your feet? Nowadays you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort because there are plenty of brands that offer both. You can read weekly reviews and get email updates about comfort shoes at www.barkingdogshoes.com.

I just bought the boot by Rieker pictured below at GB warehouse in Greenville, SC, but it is also available online . I love the cordovan color of this boot, the decorative ankle buckle, and the fact that it is water resistant and lined with a fleece like material. Originally $130.00, I snagged this boot on sale for $89.99.

What boots are you wearing this season?

Bet on boots

What’s your Thanksgiving style?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Holiday recipes aren’t the only things that get passed down from generation to generation. What we know about style we learn primarily from our parents and family members. The wardrobe choices we make for holiday occasions are also greatly influenced by our family traditions and culture. Some families dress up on holidays, while others wouldn’t dream of wearing anything other than casual attire.

I grew up in a family that went formal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although over the years my style has become more casual, I still commemorate these holidays by breaking out something fancy, like a sequined sweater or brocade skirt.

The following collection shows the range of outfits that might be seen around the Thanksgiving dinner table. What will you wear on Thanksgiving and how has your family influenced your holiday outfit choices?

Greenville’s Pearls and Pumps fashion fundraiser

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Last night the North Portico of the White House as well as the Vice President’s residence glowed pink in recognition of breast cancer awareness month. On Tuesday evening in Greenville, the TD Convention Center ballroom also lit up pink for Pearls and Pumps. Sponsored by Saint Francis Foundation, this pink carpet extravaganza honored all women diagnosed with breast cancer and raised money to support the work of Pearlie Harris Breast Health Center. In spite of unrelenting rain, a capacity crowd of 600 women showed up to partake of the evening’s stellar entertainment, which included a fashion show. Fifteen models who graced the runway symbolized the face of breast cancer. All survivors of the disease, these women represented a diversity of ages, shapes, sizes, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.

I had the privilege of being the stylist for the show, and delighted in pouring over the latest fall trends in abundant supply at Belk, the show’s retail sponsor. To present Belk’s fall fashions, I dressed the models in some of this season’s big trends, like oversized sweaters, sequined sweatshirts, 1960’s inspired shift dresses, and the colors blue and black and white.

Since I believe that clothes speak their own language, my primary goal was to select an outfit for each model that not only matched their personal style but captured their personality. Based on the time I spent with each amazing woman, I developed a strong impression of what clothes and accessories seemed right for them.

I loved the part I played in Pearls and Pumps from start to finish. Thank you to my fearless, fun, and spunky models. I also extend a heartfelt thank you to the stylists at Meghan Diez Hair Salon and Mary Kay makeup consultants who went to great lengths to make the models feel pampered and look gorgeous.

230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Have you scheduled your mammogram this month and encouraged your mom, sister, or friend to do the same? Only fifteen days remain in October.

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

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

Fall 2014 fashion trends

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Many fashions could steal your heart this season. All eyes are on plush wrap coats with large shawl colors, cozy sweaters, oversized scarves, and satchel purses. The color navy appears front and center again this fall, as does orchid, maroon, rust and orange. Spice up your wardrobe by throwing an autumn color scarf over your denim jacket or neutral trench, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Fall in Love 2014

Winter weary wardrobe reflections

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
A wintry scene on 49th Street in NYC.

A wintry scene on 49th Street in NYC.

I’ve spent the last month in the Northeast, where winter just will not quit. Snow and temperatures in the teens welcomed me at my first stop, New York City. Throughout Fashion Week I stayed bundled up in a full length mink coat I inherited from my mother twenty nine years ago. I’ve donned this coat only a few times during nearly three decades because of my combined reservations about owning fur and wearing an item that seems over the top for my personal style. Admittedly, however, this godsend of a garment saved me during three bitterly cold presidential inaugurations and several record breaking Washington, DC winters.

Who would have imagined I’d be blogging about winter clothes in March instead of colorful spring dresses? My thoughts keep turning to the boring subject of weather. Just yesterday, freezing rain followed by a snowstorm turned our back door steps into a ski slope. Fashion fills my mind only as it relates to staying warm. Because my thin frame provides little protection from the elements, I dress myself daily in giant wool scarves, thermal underwear, and thick knit pants, even when I don’t intend to leave the house. A desperate attempt to stave off my frosty environs has also led me to make some uncharacteristic style choices. Please keep this revelation a secret: I’ve found some comfort in fleece.

Tis the season to be stylish

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Has the Grinch stole your style? if you’ve dressed down and dowdy for this season’s festivities, there is still plenty of time to go glam. Give yourself permission to defy convention by dressing up. Wear beads, sequins, brocade skirts, and high heels. I guarantee that others will notice and enjoy how you look.

Perhaps Santa will bring me this outfit on Christmas.

Holiday Chic