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

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

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

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

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

What to wear to keep the cold out

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Last night as I watched newscasters report on storm Juno while being pelleted by snow, I felt very grateful that I now live in Greenville, South Carolina. Winters are extremely mild here, but we still wake up to frosty mornings. If you live in an area that gives you a dose of winter, it’s crucial to know how to dress for the cold. In a nutshell, the cardinal rules of winter dressing include strategic coverage and use of smart layering techniques.

When temperatures dip, I get out my Winter Silks. If you haven’t heard of Wintersilks undergarments, they are the best invention since sliced bread. For those of us in the South who avoid buying heavy sweaters and wool slacks, Wintersilks easily make our lightweight clothing cold weather appropriate.

I’m also a big fan of turtlenecks. I have a long neck and when it gets cold, my entire body feels cold. On the other hand, plenty of people find turtlenecks confining and prefer to wrap scarves around their necks and call it a day. I’m a turtleneck snob. They have to be made of thin gauge cashmere or a wool blend so that they fit nicely under crew neck sweaters, blouses and cardigans. I love my Uniqlo, Vince and Kate Spade Saturday turtlenecks the best.

Cold weather wardrobe guidelines also emphasize keeping your hands and head covered. Contrary to popular opinion, scientists now believe you only lose about 7 to 10 percent of your body heat through your head. This is great news for me since I am still searching for the perfect winter hat that is stylish and doesn’t give me an instant headache. When I find it, I’ll certainly blog about my discovery. It goes without saying that wearing the right footwear in winter is essential for safety and warmth. If trekking through snow and slush is in your winter forecast, make sure you invest in boots that are lined and waterproof, as opposed to just water resistant. Not all socks are created equal either. Wool socks, like the Smartwool brand, do the best job of keeping your feet toasty.

My thoughts go out to all of the folks who are enduring Juno. Keep the faith and stay safe and warm.

Keeping the Cold Out

Michael Kors long sweater
marissacollections.com

ONLY black top
$22 – only.com

Elie Tahari coat
saksoff5th.com

Equipment black pants
$445 – net-a-porter.com

Inverni clothing
$310 – farfetch.com

Whistles wedge booties
$250 – johnlewis.com

Slouch beanie
$100 – black.co.uk

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?