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

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

Four decorating steps to a stellar bedroom

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

If the amount of time we spend in rooms is a measure of their importance, then bedrooms, above all other spaces in our home, deserve preeminent status. Experts estimate that sleeping alone takes up one-third or twenty-six years of a person’s lifetime. When you add in all the other activities that happen in bedrooms, they should be thought of as a home’s nerve center. I begin and end each day checking emails and organizing my life from the comfort of my bed.

I chose our bedroom as the first room to decorate when my husband and I bought our historic house in downtown Greenville, South Carolina one year ago. We spent almost every waking hour of the five months leading up to our move from Washington, DC tackling the task of selling our home of thirty years. Now I fully understand why many folks prefer to undergo multiple root canals than endure one of life’s most stressful experiences. I knew I immediately needed to create a bedroom oasis that would soothe the memories of living in chaos and out of boxes.

I applied my wardrobe styling skills to help me with this decorating project, and in doing so, I discovered the similarities between dressing people and dressing rooms. The creative process I followed resembles the one I use with clients who hire me to elevate their image. Whether your boudoir requires a complete overhaul or only some minor tweaking, answering these four questions will help you construct a roadmap to transform your space into a design showcase:

1. What are the issues with your bedroom now? Do you lack adequate storage space or lighting? Perhaps your bed treatments look more shabby than chic. Start by listing and prioritizing what you need and want in your enhanced space;

2. Does your room reflect your personal style? Since we seek congruity between our interior and exterior selves, then it stands to reason that we also want to leave our style imprint on our surroundings. If you adore modern minimalism, but your duvet and pillows look like they jumped out of Country Living Magazine, then perhaps you and your bedroom suffer from irreconcilable style differences. Greenville interior designer and home stager, Karen Roberts, says that when individuals follow their gut decorating instincts, they end up loving where they live;

3. Are you holding on to items well beyond their expiration date? Although a coat of paint often revitalizes a tired nightstand, sometimes other items need to be kicked to the curb, like the lamp that dates back to your dorm room days. Editing, a stylist’s polite term for purging, frees you to advance your decorating aspirations;

4. How do I create a vision for my bedroom? Once you determine what you need and identify your authentic style, then look at home decorating books, magazines, and online decorating sites for inspiration. Browse stores for one-of-kind statement making pieces. As Roberts says, “thrift store furnishings with a fresh coat of paint or new upholstery do wonders for making a retreat unlike everyone else’s on the block.”

Having completed your homework, selecting your room’s core neutrals and accent colors is a perfect launch point for building your dream bedroom. Wearing colors that illuminate your hair, eyes, and complexion boosts your image just as choosing restful room shades sets the stage for relaxation. Let’s say you go with the new grey-beige hybrid “Greige” for your walls, and white for your woodwork and window treatments. Imagine dressing your bed in shades of blue, one of this season’s trending color palettes, and accessorizing with pops of Marsala, Pantone’s rich red wine color of the year.

Turning your attention to your bed is the next logical decorating step. Since it is your room’s focal point, it deserves to be dressed in the best bed coverings, like those from Parachute Home. This Venice Beach, California company offers luxury bedding at an accessible price point. At Parachute Home, you can purchase superior Egyptian cotton sheet sets, duvets, and duvet covers in five soothing colors. Parachute Home products are custom- made in Tuscany by skilled artisans “who have been weaving world class bedding for over sixty years”. The company also sells additional items to complete your sumptuous sleeping experience, like cashmere throws, pillows, and scented candles.

Upgrading your bedroom is an investment in yourself. Think of how good you will feel each night when you settle into your beautifully decorated bedroom haven. As the song goes, “Sweet dreams are made of this.”

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 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Topshop paisley print pants
$60 – topshop.com

Yves Saint Laurent clothing
$1,410 – farfetch.com

How to stay on track to achieve your new year’s resolutions

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Believe it or not the new year is already 38 days old. Time races by; days run into weeks and before you know it February will fade from memory. If you’ve read my blog postings lately, you know that I made a few resolutions for 2015 that I’m serious about achieving. I committed to getting in shape after an injury wreaked havoc with my fitness level. I also vowed to further streamline my wardrobe and stock up on casual and activewear wardrobe basics.

Experts advise that regular check-ins help keep us on track to achieving our goals. These check-ins provide us an opportunity to honestly assess our progress and also fine tune our strategies for success. Today I listened to the experts and paused to consider how well I’m doing. This exercise yielded positive results. I tweaked my fitness regimen to include daily stretching exercises and longer aerobic workouts. I also collected additional clothes to donate and consign, and made a list of items to purchase for spring.

If you’ve commited to enhancing your style in 2015, then check out “Ten steps to a stellar style” in 2015″, which appears in the January issue of Palmetto Parent. In this article I offer tips for advancing your style, such as adding two new trends to your wardrobe and breaking up black with touches of color. Trending colors for spring include soft shades such as aquamarine and yellow. Sports inspired clothing and colorful suede pieces rank high on the list of top spring trends.

Have you put style on the back burner so far this year in spite of your desire to look more polished and put together? Don’t despair. The path to success includes setbacks, and taking little style steps each day could lead to transformative image changes. How about spending some time this week in your closet to help you decide what you need for spring? This will ready you to shop during Presidents’ Day weekend for new wardrobe basics, like the ones featured in this set.

Casual spring wardrobe essentials

NIC ZOE cuff shirt
nicandzoe.com

Tulchan blue floral cardigan
$75 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Topshop short sleeve tee
$25 – topshop.com

Joseph pants
$225 – farfetch.com

L K Bennett pleated midi skirt
$140 – johnlewis.com

A new year a new you

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

My New Year’s Eve celebration ritual always includes watching Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper readying the crowds for the ball drop in Times Square. I never tire of Kathy’s zany unpredictability and Anderson’s adorable giggle. As I observed last night’s revelry I reflected on the passing of one year and the beginning of another. It wasn’t until 2014 that I made my first new year’s resolution. Last year I vowed to get rid of things I didn’t want or need. In fact I blogged about this milestone in my life last January in a piece entitled “Three steps to a streamlined closet.” A year later I am happy to report that I kept my promise to own a pared-down wardrobe and an uncluttered house.

Spurred on by last year’s success, I decided to take another stab at resolutions by joining the ranks of those who commit to getting in shape. Since this resolution always makes the top ten list of resolutions most commonly broken, I admit that it is a risky choice.

Rather than focus on the likelihood of failure, I choose to think confident thoughts. Four months ago my 92 pound labrador ran head on into me and fractured my tibia. The injury that I sustained required surgery and put me on crutches until just a few weeks ago. Thanks to physical therapy and daily rehabilitative exercises, I am now walking and mending well. However, as my surgeon and therapist stressed, full recovery takes one year and requires faithfulness to a demanding exercise regimen. Considering the ramifications of not following doctor’s orders makes me even more determined to do the work. Because I am a former dancer, athlete and exercise instructor, I also abhor the feeling of not being in peak condition.

So what does all this have to do with style? My own therapeutic process has helped me realize the similarity between fitness and style principles. Like fitness, style involves setting goals, creating a step by step plan to reach them, and putting in the time it takes to experience results. Having the right mindset is also a key to positive change. Throughout the month of January, I will chronicle my fitness journey and also explore the style-fitness connection on my blog and Facebook postings. I would love for you to join me in these discussions and share how you are progressing with your resolutions.

Until my next posting, I leave you with this affirmation: “I am a warrior”. I now repeat this daily, especially when I’m pushing myself beyond the limits of what I think is possible.

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?