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

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

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

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