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.

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?

Three steps to a streamlined closet

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Live with less

This year I broke with my tradition of not making New Year’s resolutions, and I made one. I vowed to buy and keep less of everything. My gathering days are over; now I wish to experience the sensations of sitting in an open room, opening a half full drawer, and eyeing clear kitchen counters. In other words, I don’t want my house to become what George Carlin hilariously described in his famous 1986 Comic Relief performance as just “a pile of stuff with a cover over it”.

Perhaps Carlin’s insight into the importance we give to our stuff (“Their stuff is sh.. and your sh.. is stuff.”) inspired stylists and home stagers to use a kinder, gentler word for de-cluttering…editing. However you choose to describe this process, I’ve steadily engaged in it for several years. I regularly donate or consign clothing, furniture and housewares. Every six months or so, I go through files and throw away as much paper as I can. In spite of the hours I’ve invested in this effort, I still find myself surrounded by too much of everything.

Recent life changing events gave me the boost I needed to seriously scale down. My husband and I made a decision to sell the house that has been our home for thirty years. Each room of this charming four story Victorian brims with belongings. We also live in a well stocked apartment in Greenville, SC. In less than six weeks, the interior of our home must be cleared from top to bottom and take on a minimal appearance to attract buyers. Next week, we move out of our apartment and into a new home in Greenville.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. My editing has reached a feverish pitch. I spent the past two days flagging furniture for consignment at Southern Housepitality and mercilessly streamlining my wardrobe, breaking only for a closet consultation with a client! My time was well spent. I now have less for the movers to do, and a wardrobe I love to wear. The following three recommendations helped me reach my desired outcome:

1. Become a detached observer. Until you remove your emotions from the editing equation, you will not part with possessions.
2. Once is not enough. I advise that you go through all your clothes, shoes and accessories at least twice. The third round was the charm for me, even though I agonized over which items should make the final cut.
3. Say yes. Ask yourself these questions to help you decide what should stay and what should go: Will I wear it enough to earn the space it occupies? Does it deserve a ranking of at least 8 on a scale of 1-10 for style, fit, and quality? Can I wear it with an array of other items I own? Do I really need duplicate items?(for example two black cardigans or two raincoats)?

I’d like to hear from you kindred spirits out there bent on living with less?