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 –

Polo Ralph Lauren vest
$195 –

Topshop vest

Theory wide leg pants
$390 –

NYDJ denim legging
$210 –

Aerosoles brown shoes

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 –

Frye boots

Frye ankle booties

Kate Spade slip on shoes

Tod’s slip on shoes
$420 –

Chloé ballet flat

Report suede boots

Top Guy knee boots

Ballerina shoes

simple shoe prints

Spring 2015 fashion trends

Friday, March 27th, 2015

After this winter’s prolonged stay, South Carolina women from the Lowcountry to the Upstate are ready to break out their sundresses and sandals. The word variety sums up this spring’s fashion trends. Bohemian dressers welcome the return of fringe, maxi skirts, and peasant blouses. Classic types have their eyes on shirtwaist dresses, whereas fashion trendsetters probably already own moto style jackets and sneakers.

Could you see yourself wearing any of these trends?

Denim on Denim

Hallhuber top
$105 –

Topshop paisley print pants
$60 –

Yves Saint Laurent clothing
$1,410 –

Style tips for overworked women

Monday, August 25th, 2014

In last month’s posting, “Fashion confessions of a wardrobe stylist“, I talked about my journey through a style challenged period and the lessons I learned about how to look good when every day feels like a marathon. Here are the five style saving strategies I developed to help me during busy and stressful times:

1. Downsize your closet. Get rid of what you don’t wear, so you can quickly locate the items in your closet.

2. Uncomplicate your daily dressing routine by using fewer clothing and accessory pieces to create an outfit. The classic dress, for example, answers a busy woman’s prayer. Slip it on, pair it with a statement making accessory and shoe, and you are ready to take on the world.

3. Buy versatile pieces. A busy woman’s core wardrobe should consist of functional pieces that offer endless style possibilities. Let’s revisit the classic dress again. Wear it over a sweater or blouse and it turns into a jumper. Pair it with a trendy moto style jacket, and you’ve created the ultimate date night outfit.

4. Find your style formula. Every woman has a fashion profile, based on what looks best for their body type and suits their personal style and budget. During unusually busy periods, it’s best to stick to tried and true styles.

5. Build a personalized Look Book. Snap photos of the favorite outfits you create and store them in your phone or laptop. Keep a fashion file of looks you like and take the file with you on your next shopping trip.

What style advice do you have for the perpetually busy woman?

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.

Suited for business fashion basics

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

As soon as I walk into Dillards, I head directly to the Antonio Melani, Vince Camuto and Gianni Bini sections of the store. If you peeked into my closet, you would see a variety of dresses and separates from these three exceptional lines.

I’ve often written and spoken about my winning formula for a powerful professional image. Quite simply, I advise men and women to always wear B.E.S.T clothes and accessories at the office – basic, elegant, simple, and tasteful. These three lines offer all four elements at a reasonable price point. I swear by Antonio Melani dresses and jackets because they offer classic, well tailored styles in practical neutrals. I own two Vince Camuto blazers that suit both South Carolina summers and winters. Last month I purchased a stunning cobalt blue Gianni Bini fitted jacket which makes my neutral separates come alive. I especially like the the ruched detailing on the sleeves as well as their cropped length. These design details automatically make me look taller.

I chose to showcase these lines at an upcoming fashion show entitled “Suited for Business”. I along with Dillards, The YWCA of Greenville, Business and Professional Women, and Events with Amore are hosting this free event to celebrate National Women’s Business Week. The evening includes a networking reception and silent auction to support the programs of the YWCA. So, if you live in the Greenville, SC area, I invite you to sip wine, mingle, and see fabulous working wardrobe fashions. Here is a sneak preview of some of the styles you will see on the runway on October 24.

Suited for Business

Antonio Melani dress / Vince Camuto tank dress / Antonio Melani blouse / Gianni Bini blouse / Vince Camuto jacket / Vince Camuto t-strap pumps / Antonio Melani handbag / Vince Camuto earrings / Vince Camuto stone pendant necklace / Vince Camuto dressy scarve / Antonio Melani

Leopard print flat fan club

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Judging from the buzz around my last posting, it appears that many women out there love leopard print shoes. Although the Michael Kors leopard print peep toe platform pumps I featured are my objects of desire, I know that my feet don’t feel the same. One of my very good friends gauges a fine pair of shoes by how far she can walk in them. When we shoe shop together and I wax poetic about the beauty of a certain shoe, she always sets me straight by asking this simple question: How many miles could you walk in those shoes? I own two pair of high heels and wear them only on rare occasions. The rest of the time you will find me in low heels or flat shoes and boots. I know that the leopard shoe fan club includes members like me who wear leopard print kitten heels by Michael Kors or a sharp and eternally stylish leopard print flat by Sam Edleman.

I hope you enjoy viewing this eclectic collection of flats and boots of the feline variety. Personally, I covet the buckled Enzo boots. Which ones do want in your closet?

Leopard print flat fan club

Via Spiga loafer flat / Banana Republic nude ballet pumps / Enzo Angiolini short heel boots / Sperry Top-Sider animal print flat / Leopard print shoes / Charlotte Russe leopard print flat / Ted Baker oxford shoes, $175

What to wear when you are under the weather

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Summer colds like summer storms erupt suddenly and rain their vengeance upon our unsuspecting bodies. A nasty bronchitis visited me last week and lingers like an unwelcome guest. My chest is as heavy as a South Carolina July day. I’m hold up at home with an arsenal of inhalers, antibiotics and cough suppressants, doing what the afflicted do…waiting to feel better. Yesterday’s holiday went uncelebrated. My blue and white striped tee shirt, white pique walking shorts, and red Kate Spade ballet flats failed to make an appearance at Wells Fargo Red White and Blue Festival in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Style definitely doesn’t matter right now. You’ve heard of capsule wardrobes, right? Well, my oversized Nautica lavender and white bathrobe is the centerpiece of my infirm clothing capsule because it literally smothers me in fleece. Other capsule pieces include yoga pants, assorted J Crew tees, and a Mossimo Target hoodie. Only soft or fuzzy textures in styles that go on easily appeal to me right now. If I had a jersey jumpsuit or any James Perse pullovers or long maxi dresses, they would be in my present capsule wardrobe. I expect to wear items similar to the ones in this set over the weekend.

What clothes give you comfort when you’re sick?

Under the Weather Loungwear

James Perse / Lexington stripe top, $255 / James Perse / J.Crew j crew / James Perse / Juicy Couture white legging / Zara shoes / Havaianas / Nivea , $2.70 / Natural body moisturiser / The Body Shop / Sun care / Music Journal Notebook Diary Sketch Book – Keep Calm and Play Music -… / 19 Beautiful book cover designs for your inspiration

Fourth of July Fashion Statement

Monday, July 1st, 2013

With July 4 only days away, Independence Day celebration plans are in high gear. Whether the agenda includes family cookouts or fireworks, the colors red, white, and blue will most certainly decorate every gathering. On this holiday, people also dress in the colors of Old Glory. Gentlemen break out their Stars and Stripes theme ties, and ladies find ways to pair their favorite white jeans with patriotic red and blue tops and accessories. Here’s an outfit that uses basic wardrobe pieces and the colors of the flag to create an all American yet sophisticated look. Red, white, and blue style possibilities abound for merrymakers this Independence Day.

Fourth of July Fashion Fireworks

Ralph Lauren Black Label stripe t shirt / AG Adriano Goldschmied cigarette jeans / AG Adriano Goldschmied cigarette jeans, $290 / Camper summer shoes / Mar y Sol flower handbag / Coach anchor jewelry / David Yurman earrings / Peace sign jewelry

Vests make magic

Thursday, April 11th, 2013
City Chic

Marni printed blouse, $365 / Topshop / White House Black Market slim pants / White House Black Market t-bar shoes / Oasis handbag, $43 / Sandy Hyun / Carolee LUX

I’ve always loved vests. I purchased my all time favorite one back in 1992 at Nordstrom. I still wear this black suede number with black leather trim, and patch pockets. I always feel sharp and put together in it. Besides that, the vest provides extra warmth in the winter when worn over a sweater.

Last week I checked out the Derek Lam’s DesigNation Collection at Kohl’s in advance of my writing about it for the Included in the collection is a streamlined black crepe vest that drapes beautifully and looks expensive. I especially like the way it skims the torso. I’ve been on the lookout for a vest that exactly matches the design and weight of this one. Since it fit perfectly and cost $38 with a Kohl’s coupon, I bought it.

Lam’s designs speak to contemporary women who want stylish clothes that are also functional. Many of the pieces in his collection, like the black vest, could be dressed up or down. Inspired by my vest purchase and this season’s black and white trend, I created an outfit that showcases this versatile wardrobe piece.

An online reviewer gave this item 4 stars and has these words to say about it: “…..this vest is the kind of piece that I can see wearing for years to come”. Nicely said.