How to overcome F.T.S. or failure to shop

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

All wardrobes require a solid foundation of clothing and accessory basics. If dressing each day puts you in the doldrums, then perhaps you suffer from F.T.S., otherwise known as failure to shop. This condition often afflicts those who lack the time or motivation to build a well rounded wardrobe. Several clients I worked with this month took bold steps to cure themselves of F.T.S. by engaging in some much needed retail therapy. Rather than rely on Santa’s fashion sense, the busy, overworked, and budget bound took matters into their own hands and did some serious shopping.

If your wardrobe needs style intervention, then now is the time to pick up functional winter pieces at deep discounts. Follow Santa’s prescription for gift gathering. Make a list of the basics (and check it twice) that you don’t own by inventorying your closet. Maybe it’s a quintessential black blazer that goes with a variety of pants, skirts and dresses, or a statement making animal print or bold colored blouse to make neutrals pop. Then carve out some time to shop for YOU.

I recently worked with a client at The Loft in Greenville, S.C. A woman on a mission, I combed the store to find reasonably priced work wear which flattered my client’s figure, and made her look and feel polished and professional. Two hours later, she left the store with most of what she needed and wanted to start a new year in style. What else could a wardrobe stylist ask for from Santa?

Many of the purchases my client made appear in this visual.

A Week 's Worth of Business Casual Basics

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.

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

Women’s working wardrobe trends

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I dedicate this posting to National Career Development month and all those who take bold steps to advance in their professional careers. Quite simply, image matters in life. It remains a mystery to me why individuals overlook the fact that presenting a pleasing image is a key strategy for success. Studies confirm that people base their first impressions of others largely on appearance. Opportunity knocks more loudly for individuals who look their best and present a positive personal brand. I include the results of additional revealing research on image in my book, The Power of DRES: Dres System’s Guide to Building a Professional Image and Working Wardrobe. I co-authored this book with eight other stylists from across the country, and my chapter explored “Our Relationship With Clothes”.

Current women’s professional styles definitely reflect the preferences of confident women who embrace their femininity. Gone are the nondescript power suits of the past that made women look like men. The new dress for success wardrobe includes distinctively designed separates with surprising sartorial details like asymmetrical collars and peplums. Attention getting textured wool and jacquard fabrics combined with flowing blouses and bold accessories send a self-assured message. This modern look also epitomizes the preeminent formula for the working wardrobe, which is expressed by the acronym B.E.S.T. (Basic, Elegant, Simple, and Tailored). Trends suggest that women want to buy B.E.S.T. work clothes. Although today’s longer hemlines, classic blazers and understated dresses resemble yesterday’s classics, they also capture the here and now. One might very well find these three pieces from the innovative Spanish clothing company, Zara in a fashion forward working woman’s closet:

Modern Women like  B.E.S.T: Basic, Elegant, Simple and Tailored.



Working Women's styles from Zara

Today’s trends reflect a confident and accomplished woman














The Power of D.R.E.S. Book Cover